Former Arizona Sen recounts horrific sexual assault while jogging in Iowa - Hindustan Times
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‘He molested and fondled me,’ Former Arizona Sen Martha McSally recounts horrific sexual assault while jogging in Iowa

Nov 10, 2023 09:27 AM IST

Former senator Martha McSally, a rape survivor, revealed that she was sexually assaulted while jogging in Iowa.

Martha McSally, a former senator from Arizona and a rape survivor, said she was sexually assaulted by a man who grabbed her from behind while she was jogging in Iowa on Wednesday.

Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. McSally has said she was molested while jogging along the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She described the Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023 morning attack in a video she posted online. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)(AP)
Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. McSally has said she was molested while jogging along the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She described the Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023 morning attack in a video she posted online. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)(AP)

The 57-year-old Republican shared the harrowing incident on Instagram, saying she was running along the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, near the Nebraska border, when a man suddenly attacked her.

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“A man came up behind me, and he engulfed me in a bear hug, and he molested and fondled me until I fought him off,” McSally said in the video.

She said she was in Iowa to give a speech in Omaha about courage, and that she chose to fight back against her assailant.

“I was in a fight-flight-or-freeze, and I chose to fight,” she said. “I ran after him, I threw my water bottle at him, and I chased him into the brush, where he was then hiding as I called 911 and waited for the police to come. I don’t think they found him, and I’m OK.”

According to Council Bluffs Police, the assault happened around 10:53 a.m. at Haffan River’s Edge Park on a service road near the I-480 underpass. The suspect, who was described as a “stocky” male between the ages of 25 and 40, fled the scene and could not be located by the police.

McSally said she “still has a lot to process” after the terrifying ordeal.

“I will do that in time,” she said. “In this case, 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.”

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McSally has previously spoken about being raped by a superior officer while serving in the Air Force for more than 20 years. She revealed her experience at a 2019 senate hearing on sexual assaults in the military, saying she felt the need to break her “years of silence.”

McSally was elected to the House of Representatives in 2014. She lost a Senate race to Democrat Krysten Sinema in 2018, but was appointed to the Senate by Gov. Doug Ducey after Sen. John Kyl resigned. She then lost a 2020 special election to Democrat Mark Kelly.

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