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.

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