Sen. Martha McSally: I am 'a military sexual assault survivor'

McSally, the first female Air Force pilot to fly in combat, said she stayed silent for years after being raped by a superior officer.
1:48 | 03/07/19

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Transcript for Sen. Martha McSally: I am 'a military sexual assault survivor'
We're going to turn now to a powerful and deeply personal moment on capitol hill today. Arizona senator Martha mcsally, America's first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, coming forward today, revealing she was raped by a superior officer while in the air force. Senator mcsally, what she said, and why she revealed it now. ABC's Mary Bruce on the hill. Reporter: Tonight, Martha mcsally, a senator, a veteran, the first female air force pilot to fly in combat, shared that she privately bears another title. Like you, I am also a military sexual assault survivor. But unlike so many brave survivors, I didn't report being sexually assaulted. I didn't trust the system. I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused. I thought I was strong, but felt powerless. 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. Reporter: For years, she stayed silent. And when she did try to speak out -- I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences were handled. I almost separated from the air force at 18 years over my despair. Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again. And so let's bring in Mary Bruce. And Mary, the air force is responding tonight? Reporter: And David, they say they are appalled and deeply sorry for what senator mcsally experienced, and they are steadfast in their commitment to eliminating this behavior. But David, this behavior is on the rise. In 2017, there were nearly 7,000 reported sexual assaults in the military, a record high. Mary Bruce tonight. Mary, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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