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WASHINGTON - US Senator Martha McSally, the first female combat pilot in the U.S. Air Force, said on Wednesday she had been raped by a superior officer and felt "horrified" by how her experiences were handled.
"The perpetrators abuse their position of power in profound ways, and in one case I was preyed upon and then raped by a superior officer," she said during a Senate hearing on sexual assault in the military. "I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused."McSally, 52, an Arizona Republican who served two terms in the US House of Representatives, was appointed in December by the state's governor to take over the late John McCain's Senate seat.
"I stayed silent for many years, but later in my career as the military grappled with scandals and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know: I too was a survivor," McSally said at the Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing.
"I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences were handled," she said, adding that she came close to leaving the Air Force after 18 years.
"Like many victims, I felt the system was raping me all over again."
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