Former US Senator Reports Being Molested While Jogging In Iowa

Former Senator McSally faces a new ordeal near the Iowa-Nebraska border. McSally, who had disclosed being raped by a superior officer while serving in the Air Force, shared her personal experience through a video on social media, sparking safety debates.

Ria Das
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(Image Credits: Martha McSally)

Former Senator Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) has found herself confronting the disturbing spectre of sexual assault once more. This time, the unsettling incident transpired during a routine run near the border of Iowa and Nebraska, rekindling urgent conversations about the personal safety required in the face of such traumatic encounters. In a video shared on social media, McSally bravely recounted the traumatic event, shedding light on the challenges individuals face and emphasising the importance of resilience in the face of adversity.


Against the backdrop of her prior revelation about being a victim of sexual assault in the military, McSally's openness serves as a compelling catalyst for broader societal discourse on the pervasive issue of sexual violence.

The Incident: A Detailed Account

McSally, a distinguished former fighter pilot with 26 years of service in the Air Force, detailed the encounter that transpired at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park. According to police reports from Council Bluffs, Iowa, the assault occurred around 10:53 a.m. on a Wednesday.

McSally, still in an adrenaline-fueled state, recounted how a man approached her during her run, initiating an assault that involved a bear hug and molestation. Despite losing sight of the assailant before police arrived, McSally displayed remarkable courage by chasing him down, using strong language, and ultimately fighting him off.


Confronting the Past

This recent incident has stirred emotions related to McSally's prior disclosure of being raped by a superior officer while serving in the Air Force. Her openness about past sexual assault experiences has not only contributed to personal healing but has also sparked a broader conversation about the pervasive issue within the military. 

Why Didn't She Report?

Revealing the harsh truth, McSally claimed that she did not report the inappropriate behaviour earlier because she felt the system was corrupted and untrustworthy. "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," McSally said during a Senate hearing on sexual assault in the military.

"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."

"But unlike so many brave survivors, I didn't report being sexually assaulted," she added. "Like so many women and men, I didn't trust the system. I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused. I thought I was strong but felt powerless."


Keeping the identity of her attacker anonymous, McSally said she was impressed and grateful to the survivors who came forward to help change the system.

Sexual harassment in the US military

"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."

Another member of the subcommittee, Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, said the military "has utterly failed at handling sexual assault."

This discussion was held two months after Senator Joni Ernst, an Army veteran, publicly disclosed that she had been raped in college and that her ex-husband had physically abused her too. Ernst, a Republican, has in the past worked with Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to combat sexual assault in the military.


Martha McSally, no longer a political figure, has remained an advocate for change within the US military's approach to sexual assault. Her past experiences, including being pressured into a sexual encounter as a teenager, have fueled her commitment to reforming systems and supporting survivors.

Suggested reading: Former Teacher Arrested For Sexually Assaulting 8th Grade Student

Martha McSally Martha McSally US Senator