Senator Martha McSally: I was raped by Air Force superior officer

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A US senator welled up with emotion as she told colleagues she was raped by a superior officer while serving in the Air Force.

Senator Martha McSally, who was the first female US fighter pilot to fly in combat, said she did not report the rape as she felt ashamed and confused.

She also said that she had lacked faith in the system.

The Arizona Republican was testifying to a hearing on the armed services’ efforts to prevent sexual assaults.

Reports of sexual assaults across the military jumped nearly 10% in 2017, according to the Pentagon.

Senator McSally said: “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.

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Martha McSally (L) and Joni Ernst, who recently said she was once raped

“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.”

In January, another female senator said she had been raped.

Joni Ernst said she was sexually assaulted while she was a student at Iowa State University by someone she was in a relationship with who was “physically and sexually abusive”.

The Iowa Republican told Bloomberg she had called the campus sexual assault hotline and ended the relationship but did not report the incident to police.

She did not reveal her alleged attacker’s name.