Senator Martha McSally, the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, has said that she “was preyed upon and raped by a superior officer” while serving in the Air Force.
At a hearing on sexual assault in the military, she said that she did not report the rape as she felt ashamed and confused and did not trust the system.
Senator McSally said she hoped to give sexual assault survivors hope by revealing her experience: “Like you, I also am a military sexual assault survivor, but unlike so many brave survivors, I didn’t report being sexually assaulted. Like so many women and men, I didn’t trust the system at the time. I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused. The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways. I stayed silent for many years. But later in my career, as the military grappled with the scandals, and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know, I too was a survivor. I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences was handled. I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years of service over my despair. Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again.”
An Air Force spokeswoman responded to Senator McSally’s testimony: “The criminal actions reported today by Senator McSally violate every part of what it means to be an Airman. We are appalled and deeply sorry for what Senator McSally experienced and we stand behind her and all victims of sexual assault.”
It is not the first time Senator McSally has spoken about being a survivor.
While running for Senate, she told the Wall Street Journal her high school athletic coach had pressured her into having sex with him when she was 17.
She has also previously stated that she was sexually harassed while in the military.
Actor Johnny Depp has began legal action against his ex-wife Amber Heard, seeking $50m in damages.
Ms Heard wrote an article for the Washington Post in which she described the backlash she faced after speaking out about domestic violence, stating she “faced our culture’s wrath” and witnessed “how institutions protect men accused of abuse”.
She first accused Depp of domestic violence in 2016, the year after they were married.
Depp was ordered to stay away from her and the couple divorced in 2017.
Depp’s defamation claim says the article worked on the “central premise that Ms Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her” and states that she was in fact the perpetrator.
Depp said he “never abused Ms Heard” and the claims are “part of an elaborate hoax” to advance his ex-wife’s career.
Ms Heard’s attorney Eric George said that Depp’s legal action is an attempt to silence his ex-wife but “she will not be silenced” and that Depp’s actions “prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behaviour” but that Ms Heard’s legal team would “prevail in defeating this groundless lawsuit”.
Los Angeles Federal Judge James Otero has dismissed Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit seeking to annul a “hush money” agreement she had with Trump which prevented her from discussing an alleged affair they had in 2006.
Today’s decision follows the failure of Ms Daniels’ 2018 defamation case against Trump which was also presided over by Judge Otero.
Ms Daniels said the latest ruling amounted to the end of the non-disclosure agreement tweeting: “More than a year ago when I was being threatened with a 20 million lawsuit, I asked a judge to toss out this illegal NDA. Glad I stood my ground and kept fighting.”
Her lawyer Michael Avenatti also insisted the result was a win for his client.
R Kelly has tearfully and angrily denied allegations of sexual abuse in the first interview he has given since his arrest.
He told CBS news reporter Gayle King: “I didn’t do this stuff. This is not me.”
At one point during the 80 minute interview Kelly stood up, pounding his fist and beating his chest as he declared: “Are you all trying to kill me?”
Ms King also interviewed Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage who are currently in a relationship with Kelly, although it has been suggested that they could not speak honestly or freely as Kelly was also in the room.
Kelly was taken back to prison for failing to pay child support but was then released after an unknown person paid the $161,000 owed to his ex-wife and children.