Former Sen. Martha McSally from Arizona says she was sexually assaulted while on a jog

Nov 9, 2023, 10:15 AM | Updated: Nov 10, 2023, 8:48 am

McSally sits in a chair during a hearing regarding her abuse in the military...

(AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

PHOENIX — Former U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona said Wednesday that she was sexually assaulted while on a jog in Iowa.

Through a video posted to social media, McSally detailed the moments leading up to and during the alleged assault that took place along the Missouri River at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park around 10:50 a.m.

“I realize I am still in an adrenaline state. I am okay. A man came up behind me and he engulfed me in a bear hug, and he molested me and followed me until I fought him off,” McSally said.

“I then chased him down. I said a lot of swear words in the moment. I was in fight, flight or freeze, and I chose to fight.”

She said she threw her water bottle at the man and chased him into a brush, where he hid as she called law enforcement and waited for them to arrive.

“I don’t think they found him, and I’m okay. But in this moment, I just wanted to share that I chose to fight, and I’m okay right now in part because of that,” McSally said.

How is McSally processing the alleged sexual assault?

Moving forward, she said she’s going to take time processing the encounter in a healthy way, which is what she encourages others to do.

This isn’t the first time McSally has publicly stated she was sexually assaulted. She previously opened up about the time she was raped in the Air Force by a superior officer. McSally, a Republican and 26-year military veteran, revealed that story during a Senate hearing in 2019.

“I know it’s tapped into a nerve of other sexual abuse and assault that I’ve been through in the past, which I’ve healed from as much as I feel can be done,” McSally said in the video.

“But in this case, I felt like I took my power back. He tried to take power from me, but I turned on him and he was running from me instead of the other way around.”

She stressed that she is not advising people how to respond in similar situations, as the situation could have been worse.

“I chose in the moment. Wasn’t even really a decision. I just sprung into action to go after him and have him running from me and I’m safe and I’m glad I did that.”

McSally was appointed to the Senate in 2018 after John McCain died and was beaten by Democratic opponent Mark Kelly in November 2020. She is no longer in politics.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A 2-year-old girl died after falling into a backyard pool in Phoenix....

2-year-old girl found dead in Phoenix backyard pool

Detectives are investigating the death of a 2-year-old girl who was found in a backyard pool on Saturday in Phoenix.

2 hours ago

Firefighting crews are battling the Riverside Fire north of Fountain Hills. (Tonto National Forest ...

Bartlett Lake recreational areas north of Fountain Hills evacuated for Riverside Fire

The recreational areas near Bartlett Lake have been evacuated as firefighters battle the Riverside Fire north of Fountain Hills.

3 hours ago

A 2-year-old boy died after he was found in a backyard jacuzzi Saturday. (Pixabay photo)...

2-year-old boy found in west Phoenix jacuzzi dies

Detectives are investigating the death of a two-year-old boy who was found in a backyard jacuzzi on Saturday in west Phoenix.

4 hours ago

State's new budget a sore spot for attorney general - Here's why...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona AG ‘extremely disappointed’ with state budget cuts to opioid settlement funds

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes released a statement saying she is "extremely disappointed" with the state's new budget on Saturday.

5 hours ago

Bipartisan state budget of $16 billion passes in Arizona Legislature...

Associated Press

Arizona lawmakers pass bipartisan $16.1 billion budget, fix $1.4 billion deficit

Arizona lawmakers passed a $16.1 billion bipartisan state budget, which Gov. Hobbs negotiated with GOP leaders, on Saturday evening.

9 hours ago

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close (ADOT Photo)...

Bailey Leasure

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close for 2 months

 The southbound Loop 101 on-ramp at Princess Drive and Pima Road in Scottsdale is scheduled to be closed for two months

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Former Sen. Martha McSally from Arizona says she was sexually assaulted while on a jog