A year after saying she was sexually abused in high school, Sen. Martha McSally revealed during a congressional hearing Wednesday that she was raped by a superior officer while she was in the Air Force.
McSally, an Arizona Republican, said only that an attack happened and implied that it occurred early in her military career that spanned more than two decades.
The personal disclosure came during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel intended to prevent and better respond to sexual assaults in the military in the future. McSally has been a tireless advocate for the military, which she now wants to include a system that protects women and men who have faced sexual assault and abuse.
It makes her a unique voice among the women on Capitol Hill who have gone public with their experiences surviving sexual assault and harassment in the wake of the national reckoning brought on by the #MeToo movement.
During her time in the Air Force, which stretched from 1988 until 2010, McSally said she saw weaknesses in how leaders handled the prevention, investigation, and adjudication of reports of sexual assaults. She said she did not report her own because she did not trust leaders would hold her alleged attacker accountable.
McSally, 52, did not identify her assailant, at what point in her military career the assault took place, where the alleged rape occurred, or the names of the people she later told.