Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) took a powerful stand against sexual assault in the military this morning. She was the Air Force’s first female combat fighter pilot. She was raped by a superior officer and joined the #MeToo movement in a “deeply personal” response to witness testimony during a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing on sexual assault:
So, like you, I also am a survivor, but unlike so many brave survivors, I didn’t report being sexually assaulted. 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.
During confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Congresswoman McSally (R-AZ-2) encouraged the Sen. Judiciary Committee to hear the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford:
My perspective is that these voices need to be heard and there also needs to be a fair process. I think the Judiciary Committee has bent over backwards. . .in their discussions about how to provide an environment that will show respect and allow fairness and discussion.
She had announced earlier that she had been coerced and emotionally manipulated into having sex with her high school track coach after her father Bernard’s fatal heart attack. She ultimately became an accomplished triathlete.
[I] wasn’t even safe in my own home or my car
where my stalker broke in and
held me in a hostage-like situation.
– Martha McSally, 2014
Sen. McSally flew her first combat mission in Iraq. She was on the leadership team that planned and executed the initial air campaign in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. She was awarded the Bronze Star for her combat leadership. She holds Masters Degrees from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the U.S. Air War College where she was valedictorian. She holds the seat of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Sen. McSally rescued Boomer, her Golden Retriever, and he rescued her right back with emotional support and unconditional love.