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McSally emphasizes need for military to respond to sexual assault claims

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — After revealing her history with sexual assault in the Air Force, U.S. Sen. Martha McSally emphasized the need for the military to respond to sexual assault among those in its ranks.

“The military needs to be better. We expect our military to have the best and brightest,” McSally told reporters Thursday during an event at Luke Air Force Base in the West Valley.

“We expect our military to have the people of the highest moral caliber and character; we expect more out of our military,” she continued.

“When something like this happens, it needs to be taken seriously. It needs to be investigated immediately. There needs to be justice that is served. We got to make sure to prevent it from happening; we’ve got to make sure people understand this is not tolerated here.”

McSally revealed earlier this month that she was raped in the Air Force by a superior officer.

McSally said she did not seek help from the military after her sexual assault, but assured that there are plenty of resources for those who need them.

“There’s more that needs to be done, for sure,” McSally admitted. “This crime in society, many victims choose not to tell anyone, never mind report it to an official. This is the reality of the complexity of sexual assault crimes.”

Earlier this week, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan agreed to McSally’s request to form a Pentagon task force to combat sexual assault.

“My goal, and the goal of the Department of Defense, is to eliminate sexual assault and sexual harassment in the United States military,” Shanahan said in a statement, according to The Hill.

“DoD leadership is committed to fixing this and I look forward to working with Senator McSally and our taskforce to find solutions that will eliminate this issue from our ranks.”

McSally also said she did not want her admission to taint the public’s view of the Air Force, or the military in general, because there are people who are working “every single day that are not perpetrators.”

“But for those who have suffered as a victim as assault, they need to make sure they are treated with respect and they are being given the tools for their own healing and the judicial process is fair and that swiftly does a thorough investigation and is the best chance of having justice.”

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