Between the Senate Democrats’ recent mishandling of Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations and a disastrous newspaper ad published this weekend by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., it looks like the opposition party puts a low value on protecting the identities of alleged victims of sexual abuse.

The embattled North Dakota senator is scrambling this week after her campaign published the names of reported abuse victims without their explicit permission, possibly putting several women at real risk.

“Sexual assault is a serious crime — and one that too many North Dakota women have experienced," the senator said Tuesday in a somewhat apologetic statement. "In an attempt to bring awareness to this issue and push back against dismissive comments toward sexual assault survivors by Kevin Cramer, our campaign worked with victim advocates to identify women who would be willing sign the letter or share their story. 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. 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.”

The print ad, which apparently includes names of individuals who are not even victims, was supposed to look like an open-letter penned by Heitkamp. It was meant to ding Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., for claiming recently that the #MeToo movement is fast becoming a “movement toward victimization.”

“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 senator’s open letter read.

Cramer, who currently leads Heitkamp by 8.7 points, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, also supported Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, which was slowed down for a time by unverified and uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct. Heitkamp voted against Kavanaugh.

The Democratic lawmaker’s ad included the names of approximately 125 women. As of this writing, it’s unclear how many names belong to actual victims versus individuals who have never claimed they were abused. It’s also unclear how the senator’s team went about collecting the names, as some of the women were upset about their inclusion and denied ever giving permission for such a thing:

Lexi Zhorela of Bismarck wrote on Facebook that she was “beyond FURIOUS.” She said many women on the list, including her, “didn’t want our name spread across the news for everyone to see” and risked retribution from a prior rapist or boyfriend who beat them.
Kady Miller, also of Bismarck, wrote on Facebook: “A lot of these people listed, including me, did not give anyone permission for our names to be posted. I don’t even support Heidi Heitkamp and I am not a domestic abuse survivor. Should this even be legal?? Using people’s names as part of your campaign??”

In a way, this ad fiasco feels like a continuation of the Democratic Party’s mishandling of Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh when they were both in high school.

Ford first approached Democratic lawmakers with her allegation in a confidential letter dated July 30. The allegation could have been investigated quietly by the Senate and the FBI, but someone in a Democratic office appears to have leaked Ford's name, forcing her out of her home on account of the death threats she reportedly received. The leaking of her name culminated ultimately in her appearing on national television to recount the details of her alleged assault. And all because a small group of people she trusted with her confidentiality betrayed that trust.

But hey, at least they almost took down Kavanaugh.

Maybe it's just me, but between outing Ford and other alleged victims of sexual abuse, I’m starting to think a lot of Democrats are interested in issues of sexual misconduct mostly because there are political points to be scored, and not so much because they care about finding justice for the alleged victims.