North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp is in a tight race with Republican rival Congressman Kevin Cramer, who is currently up in the polls. In the predominantly red state, she tried a campaign tactic that released a long list of names, 128 to be exact, of sex assault victims.
There was just one problem with this ad, many of the people on the list did not give permission to use their names or they weren’t victims at all.
Heitkamp released the names in a number of North Dakota newspapers in an attempt to hit back at Cramer. She claimed that the Congressman made disparaging remarks against the victims of sexual assault, and her “open letter” to him pointed out his lack of empathy for the victims.
It was later revealed that many of the named women never gave Heitkamp permission to use their names as “signatories” on the letter. Others claimed they had no idea how their names landed on the list since they have never been victims of violence.
Now these women are coming forward, saying they have been victimized not by any male attacker, but by Heitkamp.
One of the women, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke to KFYR-TV, a Fox affiliate, about her experience since the list’s reveal.
“None of us even knew about it until late last night or early this morning and like I said I don’t know what Heidi is gonna do this to retract this but a simple apology over the phone isn’t going to cut it for most of us I don’t think… There are people that I’m in hiding from when these actions happened to me when I was a teenager. My name being blasted out there, you know, especially I didn’t realize this until this morning that the town that I live in was also posted on this.”
Victims have come forward stating they feel humiliated and hurt by the action and it was going to take more than a phone call to make things right. A lot more.
You can take a look at Heitkamp’s apology below:
Many are now looking into legal action against the Senator, saying they are now “afraid for their lives” and that “the damage is done”.
Needless to say, many women who would have voted for Heitkamp are no longer supporting her.
Heitkamp’s campaign stated that they assigned the task of gathering victim’s names and approvals to a low-level aide. The aide was supposed to work with a victims’ advocacy organization to reach out to potential signers but it looks like this was never done. They have stated that aide has been fired.
Below is a Facebook interview Heitkamp participated in. Let us know your thoughts on the matter! Can she recover with so little time or was this the nail in the coffin?
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