April 16, 2024

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Former Senator Martha McSally Recounts Assault While Jogging in Iowa

Former Arizona senator and sexual assault survivor Martha McSally shared a distressing experience of being attacked during her jog in Iowa. McSally, a 57-year-old Republican, narrated the incident on Instagram, detailing how a man unexpectedly grabbed her from behind while she was running along the Missouri River in Council Bluffs.

In the Instagram video, McSally described the assailant enveloping her in a bear hug and engaging in unwanted touching. Despite the shock, McSally opted to fight back, entering a confrontational situation with her attacker. She recounted, “I was in a fight—flight or freeze—and I chose to fight.” McSally pursued the assailant, threw her water bottle, and called 911 while he concealed himself in a nearby brush. The Council Bluffs Police reported the assault occurred around 10:53 a.m. at Haffan River’s Edge Park. The suspect, described as a “stocky” male aged 25 to 40, managed to flee and elude capture.

Highlighting her response during the traumatic event, McSally emphasised reclaiming her power. She expressed, “I felt like I took my power back. He tried to take power from me, but I turned it on him, and he was running from me instead of the other way around.”

This recent incident adds another layer to McSally’s history as a survivor of sexual assault. In a 2019 Senate hearing on sexual assaults in the military, she disclosed her experience of being raped by a superior officer during her more than 20 years of service in the Air Force. Breaking her “years of silence,” McSally aimed to raise awareness about the pervasive issue of sexual assault in the military.

Martha McSally, who entered the political arena by winning a seat in the House of Representatives in 2014, faced challenges in subsequent elections. Although she lost a Senate race in 2018, she was appointed to the Senate afterward. However, she experienced another electoral setback in a 2020 special election.

The recent assault serves as another chapter in McSally’s journey, where she continues to advocate against sexual assault and shares her personal resilience in the face of adversity.