Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a retired Air Force colonel and combat pilot, on Wednesday called for an executive summit on sexual assault in the Air Force one week after disclosing that she is a military sexual assault survivor, reports The Washington Post.
“Like so many women and men, I didn’t trust the system at the time,” she said in a letter to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.
“I firmly believe that commanders must be fully responsible for preventing and responding to sexual assault in the ranks,” she added. “However, if we truly want to see aggressive change, we must take a fresh look at what else needs to be done in our approach to education, prevention, investigation and prosecution of these crimes.”
In her letter, McSally cited the latest DOD annual report on sexual assault showing that as many as 5,277 service members made reports for occurred sometime during their military service.
McSally, during a March 6 Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee hearing on the military services’ efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault in the ranks, revealed that she was raped by a superior officer while she was in the military.
“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.”