by Sarah Whitman
On Wednesday, March 6th, the Republican Senator from Arizona, Martha McSally, publically stated that she was raped while serving in the Air Force. This revelation came during an extremely emotional speech directed at another survivor of sexual assault while in the military. Senator McSally revealed that she was taken advantage of and raped by a superior officer. Like so many sexual assault survivors McSally didn’t report because she was confused and blamed herself. In her words, “I felt like the system was raping me all over again.”
No doubt you’ll be able to find countless articles and blog posts about sexual assault in the military. It’s a huge problem and it needs to be solved. But this isn’t about that problem. This is about Martha McSally and her bravery and how she proves that we need more women in politics.
Women in Politics
It’s a statement that has become a cliche - “we need more women in politics.” Companies always talk about the need to diversify - to include women and religious and ethnic minorities in leadership. But why? So they can get more investors? So they don’t get “in trouble” with the public? Very few people actually think about the why behind the need for diversity in the workplace and in politics. Martha McSally is the why.
We need more women in politics who are going to speak out about their experiences. We need more powerful, badass fighter pilots who are willing to get emotional in a public hearing and say “I was raped.” She didn’t sugar coat it. She didn’t call it sexual assault or sexual harassment. Martha McSally was raped, and that’s what she told the world. We need more women in politics because we need to solve these problems. We need more women in politics for the children at the border, the girls getting paid 75 cents to the dollar, the Christine Blasey Fords.
Martha McSally is a Republican Senator. She wants to increase border security and she supports the Second Amendment. She’s about as right wing as they come and I wouldn’t vote for her. In fact, we actively campaigned against her in the midterm elections to help elect Kyrsten Sinema. But we need more women in politics, regardless of party affiliation, because of women like Martha McSally. Women who are willing to put politics aside and stand for all women. Women who are willing to stand up and tell their stories, regardless of the backlash. Women who are going to diversify politics with their ideas and experiences. Women who are going to get shit done when men in their same position might not.
This Women’s History Month, we are grateful for Martha McSally and other brave women like her. We thank her for sharing her story and hopefully encouraging other women to take a stand and use their voices. We will continue to stand in solidarity with her and hope she can support her liberal allies when they need her voice.
To end the rape kit backlog and help give survivors of sexual assault justice, text BACKLOG to 52886.