The ordeal of Suzanne Swift
September 15, 2006 U.S. soldier goes AWOL — alleges sexual harassment
Car keys in hand, Army Spc. Suzanne Swift was about to leave her home in Eugene, Ore., for a second tour of duty in Iraq in January when she turned to her mother and said she couldn’t do it. With 2 1/2 years to go on her commitment, she opted out.
Swift hadn’t wanted to go to Iraq when she signed papers while still in high school, but she was no conscientious objector. She believed in what her president told her about the war on terror, and in Iraq she endured discomfort and danger with her unit. She had already shipped her personal belongings to Iraq for her next tour.
But Swift said she had also been singled out for repeated sexual abuse. In the eyes of some with whom she served, she said, she was never a comrade in arms; she was a target for their sexual advances. And despite her complaints, she said, the Army hadn’t protected her.