The Seattle runner (Kelly Heron) who was assaulted in a public women’s restroom last week is using a familiar battle cry to denounce an organization that tried to use her attack story for its political agenda.
The Just Want Privacy campaign used Kelly Herron’s bathroom attack story and images of her injuries in an email blast to solicit donations and support for their efforts to get Initiative 1552, a petition that would restrict transgender peoples bathroom access, on the Washington state ballot.
To the people behind I-1552, I say not today, motherf***ers, Herron said in a statement released Tuesday. I refuse to allow anyone to use me and my horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others.
Gary Steiner, a 40-year-old registered sex offender in Arizona, allegedly attacked Herron after she stopped to use a public restroom during her run through Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park last weekend.
Herron fought back hard against her attacker, using tips she learned from a self-defense workshop just three weeks earlier. She was able to lock Steiner in the restroom while she waited for police to arrest him.
I fought for my life screaming (Not today, M**F**er!), clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip never giving up, Herron wrote on Instagram after her attack.
— PFLAG NYC (@pflagnyc) March 17, 2017
When she learned that the Just Want Privacy campaign used her attack to promote its efforts to ban transgender people from restrooms, she took a stand.
What they are doing is not correct, Herron told local news station KIRO 7.
What that man did to me was to me, she added. We fought it out. There is no question about the wrongness of it… now my face is being used to raise money for discrimination. Its bull.
Herron said in her statement that Initiative 1552 wouldn’t have prevented her attack. She argued that the initiative targets and harms transgender individuals and demanded that Just Want Privacy refund any money they raised using her story.
Now, the Washington Wont Discriminate campaign is using Herons statement to fundraise and raise awareness for its own fight against I-1552.
The Just Want Privacy campaign issued a statement on Tuesday apologizing for using Herron’s story.
Since many of the volunteers that comprise this campaign are themselves survivors of sexual assault, the last thing we want to do is make anyone feel exploited, Just Want Privacy said in a statement posted to Facebook on Tuesday. If our actions have inadvertently failed in this effort, we are sincerely sorry.
The campaigns communications director Kaeley Triller Haver told KIRO 7 that Just Want Privacy is not an anti-transgender group and only aims to protect women’s safety.
But their petition specifically targets transgender people and would force transgender people to use locker rooms and bathrooms based on their gender at birth rather than the gender with which they identify.
Still, Triller Haver maintained that Herron’s attack was relevant to their campaign.
The reality remains that a grown man marched into a women’s bathroom in broad daylight in the middle of a busy park and nobody stopped him, Triller Haver told the news station.
Our campaign exists to protect women so they don’t have to experience what she did, she added.
Herron continues to oppose I-1552 and what it represents.
In a story published Thursday, she told The Daily Beat: I was more upset than Id been all week to learn that this political campaign was using my name, image and story to raise funds and further their agenda towards a cause I do not support.