In the wake of Sen. Martha McSally’s (R-AZ) brave testimony of her sexual assault during her tenure in the military, the left is using ideology to invalidate McSally’s heartbreaking deposition. The freshman senator from Arizona made history during her service in the Air Force, earning the recognition of first female fighter pilot to fly in combat. McSally alleges, without naming a specific perpetrator, that she was “preyed upon and then raped,” by a superior officer.
During the hearing on the military’s response to and prevention of internal sexual assault and misconduct, McSally praised the bravery of survivors who empower themselves, and others, to come forward before she revealed her own experience, as Lauretta reported:
"I am so inspired by the many survivors who found the strength to share their stories, report their assaults, and demand accountability, justice, and change," McSally told those gathered at the hearing. "It is because of you that a light has been shined on this silent epidemic and so many improvements have been made—including more than 100 legislative actions over the last decade—on all aspects of military sexual assault."
"So, like you, I also am a military sexual assault survivor, but unlike so many brave survivors, I didn’t report being sexually assaulted," she said.
As to be expected, left-wing pundits immediately pounced on McSally’s assertion, ultimately invalidating the senator’s story, based on nothing more than her Conservative beliefs.
This is brave. It's also important. The conservative movement in the US has been staunchly anti-feminist, deriding many women who talk about sexual violence as having a "victim mentality." As a result, there can be a cost to prominent conservative women who speak out. https://t.co/NlrXb2A8d3— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) March 6, 2019
Most despicably, feminist author Jill Filipovic hammered Senator McSally for her non-voting support of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
It would be better, of course, if those experiences led to more humane policy positions (and a tougher look at men in power who stand accused of sexual assault, like Kavanaugh, whose confirmation McSally supported). But things don't change overnight. This is a sign of progress.— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) March 6, 2019
This abhorrent rhetoric from the left toward Conservative women is not the first of its kind, and certainly will not be the last. In late January, Senator Joni Ernst received similar criticism after she came forward about her sexual assault in college and abusive marriage. Since Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the left has implemented a standard that invalidates Republican women who have experienced sexual trauma; any woman, Republican or not, who offered voting or non-voting support for Justice Kavanaugh is now offered no seat at the discussion table on these issues. Advocating for the constitutionally-protected due process rights of each and every American is now viewed as not only controversial, but anti-woman.
The insubstantial criticisms thrown at McSally are the epitome of the growing hypocrisy on the left. Democrats and Progressives alike claim to champion allwomen, with the #metoo movement, and consistently push the narrative that each and every woman who comes forward should be believed no matter what; the left only applies this standard to their own. Progressives paint Republicans as evil, woman-hating bigots with no substantive evidence. What these groups fail to realize, or admit, is that this rhetoric is not productive toward diminishing our sexual misconduct problem. These harsh mischaracterizations of Conservatives and propping up of the narrative that due process is anti-woman dually de-incentivizes women from coming forward. If reducing sexual assault and misconduct is truly the goal, ideology cannot play a part; sexual assault is not a partisan issue, it is a human rights issue. Disagree as Republicans and Democrats may on how best to handle allegations, especially surrounding due process, the use of ideology as a factor must stop. Victims of these heinous crimes are not pawns for political gain.
Regardless of political affiliation, coming forward after a traumatic sexual experience is a difficult, painful thing to do. Filipovic and other left-wing pundits are well aware of this, but still take no issue with invalidating and belittling Republican women who so bravely come forward, on a purely ideological basis.
If Democrats want to have a concrete, candid discussion on policy that might help alleviate the growing issue of sexual assault and misconduct, Republican women, and men, would undoubtedly come to the table. As McSally firmly attested in her deposition during the Senate hearing, she was unsatisfied with the status-quo system for handling sexual misconduct, and her experience empowered her to change the system:
“I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences was handled...I share the disgust of the failures of the military system and many commanders who failed in their responsibilities,” McSally said in the hearing.
This behavior is an especially painful example of the left’s real agenda, which does not actually include championing and elevating all women. Sexual assault and misconduct should never be politicized; allowing ideology to be a factor in giving validity to a woman’s testimony silences the experiences of countless women across the political aisle.