Lexi Zhorela, one of the women identified as an abuse survivor in Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s newspaper ad, said Thursday that the senator has not reached out and apologized to her personally.
“I was told that she [Heitkamp] was going to reach out to every one of the women that was put in this without our consent, but she has yet to reach out to me,” Zhorela told CNN two days after Heitkamp, D-N.D., issued a public apology.
“For the rest of my life, I’ll have to hold the title as a survivor … That wasn’t my choice”: Lexi Zhorela says Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has not yet personally apologized for identifying her as a survivor of abuse in an ad without her knowledge or consent https://t.co/dXLulklfrU pic.twitter.com/oerIO4yXar— New Day (@NewDay) October 18, 2018
Heitkamp’s campaign ran an ad Sunday in several North Dakota newspapers that was an open letter to her opponent Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. The ad identified 125 women, by name or initials, as survivors of sexual abuse, rape, or domestic violence.
Several women named, however, have since said that they either did not give Heitkamp permission to publicly share their names and others claimed they are not survivors of abuse as indicated in the ad.
“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 Tuesday.
Although Zorela hasn’t been contacted by Heitkamp yet, she says the “damage has already been done,” and she’s not sure the senator can do anything to resolve the situation since her name is already shared publicly.
“The names that didn’t want to be out there are already out there for the world to see, and you can’t really retract that,” Zorela told CNN, adding that she has been very private about the abuse in her life.