In a stunning revelation today in a congressional hearing, GOP Senator Martha McSally admitted she had been raped years before by a senior Air Force officer.
From Fox News: Sen. Martha McSally, the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, disclosed during an emotional Senate hearing on Wednesday she was “preyed upon and then raped” in the Air Force by a superior officer.
The Arizona Republican, who served 26 years in the Air Force, made the disclosure during a Senate hearing on sexual assault allegations in the military. McSally said she didn’t report the assault because she didn’t trust the system, and was ashamed and confused.
“My drive to fight against sexual assault in the ranks is not from the outside looking in,” McSally began. “And it is deeply personal.”
“I am so inspired by the many survivors who found the strength to share their stories, report their assaults, and demand accountability, justice, and change,” McSally said. “It is because of you that a light has been shined on this silent epidemic and so many improvements have been made—including more than 100 legislative actions over the last decade—on all aspects of military sexual assault.”
“So, like you, I also am a military sexual assault survivor, but unlike so many brave survivors, I didn’t report being sexually assaulted,” she continued. “Like so many women and men, I didn’t trust the system at the time. I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused. I thought I was strong but felt powerless. The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways. In one case I was preyed upon and raped by a superior officer.”
McSally did not name the officer, but said she shares in the disgust of the failures of the military system and many commanders to address sexual violence. She said that’s why the public must demand that higher-ranking officials be part of the solution.
From The Daily Mail:
McSally brought up her account speaking to a hushed hearing room, pausing at times to maintain her composure recalling the incident.
‘I stayed silent for many years, but later in my career, as the military grappled with the scandals, and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know I too was a survivor,’ she said, choking up as she detailed what had happened to her.
‘I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences was handled. I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years of service over my despair. Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again.’
She faulted military commanders for failing to deal properly with the situation.
She addressed some of her remarks to other witnesses, including survivors of rape and assault.