After Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., stepped in it by naming sexual assault survivors in a political ad without their permission, even misidentifying some individuals, three of the women named by Heitkamp now say she "ruined" their lives.
Heitkamp took out a newspaper ad for an open letter addressed to her opponent, Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., listing the names of over 120 women identified as sexual assault, domestic violence, or rape survivors.
In a statement made to CNN, Shylah Forde, Megan Stoltz and Alexandria Delzer blasted the Democrat. They say they represent a group of at least a dozen women whose names were on the list.
"Heidi Heitkamp's political agenda has interfered with, or downright ruined, our lives," they wrote. "Survivors of assault who had taken care to avoid the subject were suddenly bombarded by questions asking them to explain to their loved ones why their name appeared on this list. Women who have never been assaulted spent the day reassuring loved ones of their safety."
The women added their "privacy was violated on this day" and that they will "search for a lawyer who will take our case."
Heitkamp's campaign has apologized for the mistake.
"We recently discovered that several of the women's names who were provided to us did not authorize their names to be shared or were not survivors of abuse," Heitkamp said in a statement. "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."
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