Speed Reads

speaking out

Sen. Martha McSally says a superior officer raped her when she was in the Air Force

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) said on Wednesday that she was raped by a superior officer when she served in the Air Force.

During a hearing on sexual assault in the military, the Arizona senator and former fighter pilot said that her passion for this issue is "deeply personal" because she is "also a military sexual assault survivor" and that in "one case," she was "preyed upon and then raped by a superior officer."

McSally said she didn't report because she "didn't trust the system at the time" and "felt powerless." Later in her career, McSally says she came forward with her story and was "horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences were handled. I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years over my despair. Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again."

The senator also said during Wednesday's hearing that she "witnessed so many weaknesses in the processes involving sexual assault prevention, investigation, and adjudication" in the military, which "shaped my approach as a commander and informed my advocacy for change." There's still "a long way to go" toward solving this problem, she said, adding that "we must fix those distortions in the culture of our military that permit sexual harm towards women, and yes, some men as well." Watch McSally's statement below. Brendan Morrow