Arizona Senator has emotionally narrated how she suffered in silence as US military senior officer raped her.
Martha McSally, was by then an US Air Force officer.
She laid to bare details on Wednesday on how she was raped by a superior officer while in the service.
McSally, 52, the first woman to fly in combat for the US Air Force, had spent 26 years in the Force and commanded a fighter squadron, revealed the attack in emotional remarks during a Senate subcommittee hearing on sexual assault in the military.
“I am also a military sexual assault survivor but unlike so many brave survivors I didn’t report being sexually assaulted,” McSally said.
“Like so many women and men I didn’t trust the system at the time,” she said. “I blame myself. I was ashamed and confused. And I thought I was strong but felt powerless.
“The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways,” the first-term Republican senator said. “And in one case I was preyed upon and then raped by a superior officer.”
McSally, who served in the Air Force until 2010 and retired with the rank of colonel, said she kept quiet about the assault for many years.
“But later in my career, as the military grappled with scandals and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know — I too was a survivor,” she said.
McSally said she considered leaving the military at one point.
“I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years over my despair,” she said. “Like many victims I felt the system was raping me all over again.
“But I didn’t quit,” she said. “I decided to stay and continue to serve and fight and lead, to be a voice from within the ranks for women and then in the House and now in the Senate.”