Veteran & Senator Martha McSally Breaks Her Silence at Hearing

On Wednesday, Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ), a 26-year military veteran and the first woman fighter pilot to fly in combat, said she was raped by a superior Air Force officer, though she did not disclose the name of the man who allegedly assaulted her.

McSally made the announcement during the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel hearing on better prevention and response to sexual assaults in the military.

“So, like you, I also am a survivor, but unlike so many brave survivors, I didn’t report being sexually assaulted,” said the Republican senator, according to AZ Central. “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 continued: “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. 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.”

Last year, McSally told The Wall Street Journal that her high school track coach sexually abused her when she was 17 years old, soon after her father passed away. The coach has denied the accusations.

“It took a while for me to come to a place where I understood what the hell I had been through,” McSally told the Journal in April 2018. “At the time, I was so afraid. I now understand—like many girls and boys who are abused by people in authority over them—there’s a lot of fear and manipulation and shame.”

“Even though he didn’t physically force me, it certainly was an emotional manipulation,” she claimed.

Take a look:

In a statement, McSally replied: “He is a troubled man who I have forgiven, and I hope he finds God’s peace and grace.”

As noted by the Associated Press, “Reports of sexual assaults across the military jumped nearly 10 percent in 2017 — a year that also saw an online nude-photo sharing scandal rock the Defense Department.”

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