TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Sen. Martha McSally traveled to Tucson Friday, April 26 to talk about sexual assaults in the military.
Sen. McSally met with commanders and base leadership at Fort Huachuca and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to discuss the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Task Force.
After the meetings, she spent 30 minutes talking with media outside Davis-Monthan.
She said this issue is a national security threat.
“You can’t have military people attacking each other,” Sen. McSally said.
Sen. McSally told the commanders at the bases while it’s a difficult topic, it needs to be done and the top officials will be held accountable.
She said she will give leaders the resources they need to investigate and prosecute those who commit or cover-up sexual assaults.
“If we want to really stop something in the military, we need to make commanders accountable,” she said. “Ultimately the well-being of their airman soldiers, sailors and Marines is their responsibility. You take it away from commanders, it is going to be less focused, less responsibility, less accountability and that’s not the direction we want to go.”
McSally said the commanders told her they are committed to changing the culture of sexual assault on bases.
In March 2019, Sen. McSally revealed she was sexually assaulted by a superior officer, and later, when she tried to talk about it to military officials, she “felt like the system was raping me all over again.”
Sen. McSally, the first female Air Force fighter pilot to fly in combat, made the disclosure at a Senate hearing on the military’s efforts to prevent sexual assaults and improve the response when they occur.
She said she did not report being raped because she did not trust the system, and she said she was ashamed and confused. She said she was impressed and grateful to the survivors who came forward to help change the system.