Former Arizona Sen. Martha McSally said she was sexually assaulted while jogging along the Missouri River in Iowa on Wednesday.
McSally — who has openly spoken about her experience of being raped while serving in the Air Force — detailed the terrifying incident in an Instagram post.
The 57-year-old Republican said she was along the river in Council Bluffs by the Nebraska border when a man suddenly jumped out and grabbed her.
“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 noted that she was in Iowa because she was scheduled to give a speech in Omaha about courage.
“I was in a fight-flight-or-freeze, and I chose to fight,” she continued. “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.”
The assault occurred around 10:53 a.m. at Haffan River’s Edge Park on a service road near the I-480 underpass, according to Council Bluffs Police.
When police arrived, they were unable to locate the suspect, who fled. He was described as a “stocky” male between the ages of 25 and 40.
McSally said she “still has a lot to process” after the frightening attack.
“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.”
McSally revealed that she had been raped by a superior officer while in the Air Force — where she served for more than two decades — at a 2019 senate hearing on sexual assaults in the military.
She said at the time she felt compelled to share her experience and how it was handled after “years of silence.”
McSally was elected to the House of Representatives in 2014. After losing a Senate bid to Democrat Krysten Sinema in 2018, she was appointed to the Senate by Gov. Doug Ducey after the resignation of Sen. John Kyl.
She was subsequently defeated in a 2020 special election by Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.
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