Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) said on Wednesday that she was raped by a superior officer while she was in the Air Force.
According to the Miami Herald, McSally said she held her tongue on the assault due to distrusting the system and a sense of shame:
The Arizona Republican, a 26-year military veteran, made the disclosure at a Senate hearing on the armed services’ efforts to prevent sexual assaults and improve the response when they occur.
McSally said she did not report being sexually assaulted because she did not trust the system, and she said she was ashamed and confused. McSally did not name the officer who she says raped her.
“I stayed silent for many years, but later in my career, as the military grappled with the scandals, and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know I too was a survivor,” she said, choking up as she detailed what had happened to her. “I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences was handled. I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years of service over my despair. Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again.”
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) also came forward and revealed that she too had been sexually assaulted while she was a student at Iowa State University.
“I was embarrassed,” she said according to the Washington Post. “I didn’t know how to explain it. I was so humiliated. And I’m a private person, when it comes to those things.”