Sexual Assault Survivors Outed By Heitkamp Campaign Now Fear Their Abusers Can Find Them

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Posted: Oct 17, 2018 11:28 AM
Sexual Assault Survivors Outed By Heitkamp Campaign Now Fear Their Abusers Can Find Them

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's (D-ND) campaign's decision to share several sexual assault survivors' names without permission not only embarrassed those women, but it very well may have put them in danger. The campaign posted over 100 names, along with their corresponding cities.

"Now their abuser can go find them in the city listed," the chryon for KX4 read as Eve Lancaster, a sexual assault survivor, spoke out against the breach of privacy.

How did this happen? As Lancaster understands it, she was "tagged" in a post on Facebook about sexual assault victims, and the Heitkamp campaign took that to mean she was agreeing to have her name appear in their ad.

"Nobody contacted me," Lancaster explained. "They didn't get my consent. I did see that I was tagged, but there was no link. There was nothing for me to even sign anything."

She was shocked to find her name and hometown publicized.

"The only fear I have is that some people know where I live," she said.

She feared for her fellow sexual assault survivors too, who may find that their past harassers will try to get back in contact with them "just because now they know where they live."

It was "very unprofessional" for the Heitkamp to solicit sexual assault survivors on social media, Lancaster said. Some of the women listed in the ad, she noted, weren't even sexual assault victims.

They should have set up private appointments to interview these women, Lancaster suggested.

"I did not want anyone to know I was sexually harassed in my past," she said.

She wasn't the only one to speak out.

Heitkamp apologized for the massive mistake and said the campaign aide responsible for publishing the ad has since been fired. But, as other sexual assault survivors listed on the ad said, it is not enough.