Tags: 2018 Midterm Elections | heidi heitkamp | sexual assault | victims | exploitation | democrat | north dakota

Heitkamp Apologizes for Naming Sex Assault Survivors

north dakota senator heidi heitkamp, wearing glasses, delivers remarks
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. (Bill Clark/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 October 2018 08:11 PM

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., apologized Tuesday for outing sexual-assault survivors in a Senate campaign ad — some of whom were not victims nor had given permission to be identified.

The ad, framed as an open letter to her opponent, GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer, ran in several newspapers in the state on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

"I deeply regret this mistake and we are in the process of issuing a retraction, personally apologizing to each of the people impacted by this and taking the necessary steps to ensure this never happens again," Heitkamp said in a statement.

She also told Rob Port, a conservative blogger and frequent Heitkamp critic on his radio talk show Tuesday: "This was incompetent. It was wrong. It should have never happened. It was a very flagrant error of the campaign and I own it."

In the ad, Heitkamp criticized Cramer's support of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

"We are here to let you know that you are wrong — this is not 'a movement toward victimization,' it's about being a survivor," the open-letter ad said, The Wall Street Journal reported. "We are here to let you know that we have all suffered from domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape — and that yes, we expect somebody to believe us when we say it. Because it happened."

The letter was signed by more than 125 women, some identified by their initials. But some of the women said in Facebook posts they had not given the Heitkamp campaign permission to use their names, or were not sexual assault victims, according to the AP.

"This is another example of Heidi Heitkamp exploiting whoever she can for political gain," Jake Wilkins, spokesman for the North Dakota Republican Party said, the Journal reported.

Heitkamp is one of 10 Democratic senators up for re-election in states Trump carried in 2016.

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Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's, D-N.D., outing of sexual-assault survivors in a Senate campaign ad, some of whom were not victims nor had given permission to be identified, forced her to deliver an apology Tuesday.
heidi heitkamp, sexual assault, victims, exploitation, democrat, north dakota
Tuesday, 16 October 2018 08:11 PM
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