Former Air Force pilot and the first American woman to fly in combat, Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), testifying at a Senate hearing, said she was sexually assaulted while in the military. She is the second Republican woman Senator to speak publicly about her experience with sexual assault this year.
Her public disclosure of a years-ago rape crime has become a familiar narrative. But it is a bit of a rarity to come from a prominent Republican woman. “I was preyed upon and raped by a superior officer. I first stayed silent about what happened, but once I decided to come forward, I was horrified by how my situation was handled. Like many victims, I felt the system was raping me all over again.”
The 26-year veteran said she almost quit the Air Force, but then decided to stay. “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. The issue of sexual assault in the military is personal for me as a commander who led my airmen into combat, and as a survivor of rape and betrayal. I share the disgust of the failures of the military system and many commanders who failed in their responsibilities. I call for commanders not to be removed from the decision-making responsibility of preventing, detecting, and prosecuting military sexual assault.”
This is the first time McSally has shared any account of her rape while in the military. But in 2018, she had told the Wall Street Journal that she was also sexually abused by a coach in high school.
Air Force spokesperson Carrie Volpe said, “The Air Force is appalled and deeply sorry for McSally’s experience and stands behind her and all victims of sexual assault. We are steadfast in our commitment to eliminate this reprehensible behavior and breach of trust in our rank.”
Sexual assault is a serious problem in the military. The Defense Department reports that cases of sexual assault in the military increased by 10% in 2017, with 6,769 cases on file. Statistics for 2018 have not been released yet.
McSally’s revelation comes two months after another prominent woman legislator, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), said she was raped by a man she had dated in college. Ernst called a campus sexual assault hotline but didn’t report the incident to police.
In contrast to Democratic women, few high-profile Republican women have spoken publicly about any personal experiences under sexual assault. Recently, newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whom Ernst and McSally both supported along with President Trump and most Republicans, came under shocking accusations of sexual assault, but with no evidence, and with even later retractions after the public hearings were long over and out of the news cycle.
McSally said her “heart goes out” to Kavanaugh’s chief accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed with dim recall of facts that “Brett” had sexually assaulted her in high school decades ago. But Judge Kavanaugh’s detailed calendar entries from the year showed that he was not even in the same geographic region during the supposed time window, which date and location was also left vague by Blasey Ford. As McSally stated in her support of the judge, “we also need fairness where individuals can’t just have one person without any corroboration impact such an important decision.”
It is interesting that there is a Party gap on the issue of sexual assault and harassment claims. But it is presumptuous to speculate on why that gap exists. For instance, Democratic voters may simply be more receptive than Republican voters are to a victimhood agenda, which tolerates unsupported accounts of sexual misconduct, especially against men who can be targeted as political enemies. Such claims can easily be weaponized politically. For defenders of the accused, countering such claims with honest expressions of doubt, or just in a simple search for facts, runs a risk of being smeared, along with the accused.
Public opinion polls confirm that Republicans and Democrats differ on how they evaluate and judge sexual misconduct as a problem. But that does not translate into any fair conclusion that Democrats care more about the safety of women. Perhaps the difference is instead that Republicans care more about facts. And Democratic women, especially in Women’s Studies departments of academia, seem to be very loose on “facts” when they cite definitions, circumstances and rates of sexual assault.
Or perhaps, Democratic women may actually experience more assault, as a consequence of traveling in more dangerous circles, with more risky lifestyles and behaviors. For example, in the Blasey Ford claims, her accusations were entirely premised on her going to wild, drunken parties where supposed sexual gang assault horrors were an open and repeat thing. But it is hard to separate the real risks from the delusions and lies. So, any conclusion in this direction would be flimsy.
The public response to McSally’s military rape revelation has been muted. No doubt many are deeply disappointed that McSally didn’t take the extra step and name her alleged assailant in the military case. In America, we have a system of justice. But it requires the victim to make a timely accusation against a specific perpetrator, and hopefully with some evidence. As McSally evidently found, at least back then, the path to justice may not be easy or certain.
But I value our system of justice very highly. I speak as a rape survivor, who suffered by it many times, from many perpetrators. Where I grew up under it, where rape is a sad way of life for women and girls, there was no justice possible for me. I was in fact required to remain silent, because speaking out would have brought a severe sentence to me.
Women in America, even victims like McSally, have no idea what it is like to live under constant threat of sexual assault in an Islamic society. Rape, especially of non-Muslims, is simply part of Islamic doctrine. And so it comes without justice for any woman under Islamic law.
My heart goes out to Sen. McSally, as a fellow survivor, who shares the pain. But I want American women to wake up, and to truly care about justice for women. I want them to move beyond the political weaponization of rape accusation as a tool for the Left agenda. I want them to honestly care about the tragic fate of women and girls who are routinely sold, enslaved, and raped under Islamic law, as I was. Those female victims have no access to justice. They need our shared voices to bring it to them.
Anni was sold for $50 as a child bride in Islamic Republic of Iran. Escaping from her childhood in sex slavery, she found freedom in America. Now an American citizen, she is a leading spokeswoman against the evils of Islam.
Anni carries a special legitimacy in her true feminist teachings, as a former child bride, a legal asylum refugee, an immigrant and survivor, whose goal is to protect and awaken her fellow Americans to the encroaching threat that is the Islamic ideological control system which she escaped and lived to expose.
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