By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. Sen. Martha McSally said Wednesday she was raped by an officer while serving in the Air Force but chose not to report the assault because she did not have trust in the military's system.
"I blame myself. I was ashamed and confused, and I thought I was strong but felt powerless," McSally said during a hearing on sexual assault in the military in which other victims came forward with their stories.
"The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways, and in one case, I was preyed upon and then raped by a superior officer," the freshman Republican senator said. "Like many victims, I felt the system was raping me all over again."
Her use of the word "perpetrators" in addition to "superior officer" appears to denote that she was abused more than once, but she did not name any offenders or specify when the assaults took place.
McSally rose to the rank of colonel during her over 20-year term of Air Force service, during which time she was deployed to Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
She called for the Pentagon to further educate its commanders and "ensure that all commanders are trained and empowered to take legal action".
McSally is at least the second senator to come forward this year with her story of sexual assault.
Sen. Joni Ernst said in January that she was raped in college and was abused by her ex-husband.
The testimonies come in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which has encouraged women and men to come forward with their stories of sexual assault.
Dozens of high-profile celebrities and moguls have been felled over the allegations.