GOP senator tells of sexual assault in the military
by Harvest Prude
Posted 3/07/19, 12:06 pm
WASHINGTON—Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., revealed in a Senate hearing Wednesday that a superior officer sexually assaulted her while she was in the Air Force. “My drive to fight against sexual assault in the ranks is not from the outside looking in … it is deeply personal,” she said during a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel hearing on sexual assault in the military.
McSally was the first female U.S. fighter pilot to fly in combat and the first woman to command a fighter squadron. She did not name the officer who raped her and said she did not initially report her assault because she “didn’t trust the system at the time.” She said she later reported her experience and was so horrified by how the military handled it that she considered quitting. “I decided to stay and continue to serve and fight and lead,” said McSally, who retired after 26 years of service. Her testimony came a few weeks after another GOP senator, Joni Ernst of Iowa, revealed she was raped in college.
“We are appalled and deeply sorry for what Sen. McSally experienced, and we stand behind her and all victims of sexual assault,” Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Carrie Volpe said in a statement.
A 2018 Pentagon report revealed that in fiscal year 2017, the Department of Defense received 6,769 reports of sexual assault from military personnel, an almost 10 percent increase from 2016. A Pentagon survey also found a nearly 50 percent spike in reports of sexual assault at the Army, Navy, and Air Force service academies, from 507 in 2017 to 747 last year.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.