Congressman DeSaulnier Invites Sexual Assault Survivor To State of the Union Address

January 29, 2018
Press Release

Walnut Creek, CA – Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) has invited Master Sergeant (MSG) Linda Ray, retired U.S. Army Reserves and sexual assault survivor, to be his guest at President Trump’s first State of the Union Address tomorrow. While serving in the military, during a time when the Army was first integrating men and women into the same platoons, MSG Ray was sexually assaulted by a superior in her unit. Although a trial was conducted and MSG Ray testified, the Army never informed her of the outcome, and now claims it has no records to provide.   

“Having first met Linda Ray almost 20 years ago, I have come to know her as a strong and committed member of our community. Through her dedication to our military and Contra Costa County she has helped improve the lives of many, including mentoring and supporting students and service members as a member of my Military and Veterans Advisory Board,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “It is an honor to host her at the State of the Union. I hope her story and resilience shed light on the importance of the #MeToo movement and exposing and confronting sexual assault in all areas of our society including the highest levels of government, military, sports, Hollywood, and everyday workplaces.”

“I was resigned to take my incident to the grave; virtually unspoken and unresolved,” said MSG Ray. “When I was assaulted over thirty-five years ago, it was expected for women to keep their stories quiet. But there I was, on the other hand, a fierce and independent woman of the ‘70s, who did not flinch in taking my assaulter to a military trial. After the trial, and to this day, I have never been informed of the outcome, and in time I learned to move on with my life,” continued MSG Ray.

“Since my incident, society has begun to change. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal I felt compelled to speak up. I summoned the courage to tell my story and with help of Congressman DeSaulnier requested records of the trial, but the Army responded that no records have been found,” said MSG Ray.

“Our military and all institutions have an obligation to support survivors of assault. Being invited to the State of the Union Address is an incredible honor. As we say in the military, it's a tight shot group of circumstances and kismet that has led me here, and I am glad to be among other brave women and men willing to tell their stories. I've known Mark for over two decades, and it's been a sincere privilege to serve alongside him in different capacities.  He is an intelligent, hardworking, dedicated Representative, and an even better man,” concluded MSG Ray.

MSG Ray served in the Army for 21 years, where she was awarded the Marine Corps Achievement Medal for her many tours with National Defense University, in support of the reserves component’s national security course; as well as two Army Commendations Medals and an Army Achievement Medal; and was Solider of the Year at brigade level in 1983. As a civilian Ms. Ray worked as a Senior Public Health Advisor for Contra Costa County for 10 years, and served on the Concord Women’s Committee, which helped connect women with networking and professional training. Ms. Ray was also a member of the Retail Clerks International, Butchers, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Unions. Currently, MSG Ray sits on Congressman DeSaulnier’s Military and Veterans Advisory Board.