Woman who was attacked in bathroom slams anti-trans activists for ‘exploiting’ her sexual assault
A woman who faced a sexual assault in a bathroom has hit out at anti-trans campaigners who tried to exploit the incident to push an anti-transgender law.
Kelly Herron was assaulted by a man in a public restroom at a Seattle park during an afternoon run on Sunday, March 5.
After the man attacked her, the 36-year-old marathon runner fought back – screaming “not today motherf**ker!” and restraining him until police arrived.
A registered sex offender, Gary Matthew Steiner, has been charged over the attack.
After news of the incident broke, anti-LGBT groups began trying to exploit it to push I-1552, a Washington State measure to repeal anti-discrimination protections for transgender people, following the use of bathroom smears against trans people nationally.
A anti-trans campaign group known as ‘Just Want Privacy’ was one of many to exploit Ms Herron’s attack as a reason to raise funds and build support for the law, even though the attacker was not transgender.
Ms Herron has now hit back in a statement, saying: “To the people behind I-1552, I say ‘not today, motherf**kers’. I refuse to allow anyone to use me and my horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others.
“And I refuse to stand by as this same group pushes the repeal of Washington’s long-standing laws protecting my transgender friends. If they think they can use my experience to raise money for I-1552, then we have to raise twice as much.”
In an interview with the Daily Beast, she explained she was appalled to see the group exploiting her attack.
She said: ““I just about lost my mind… I was more upset than I’d 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.
“Protecting transgender people from discrimination has nothing to do with fighting sexual assault
“I have transgender friends, I have transgender co-workers… when I see them in the bathroom I ask them about their lip gloss.
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“My transgender friends, just like me, want to use the bathroom and get out safely. It’s that simple.”
Just Want Privacy defended their actions as they issued a half-baked apology.
They said: “Because our campaign exists to help create safe spaces, we referenced her story—as we have many others before her—to highlight the need for common sense public policy to minimize danger to women and children from those who seek to harm others.
“We have recently learned through several media outlets that the woman objected to our reference to her story in our communications.
“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.
“If our actions have inadvertently failed in this effort, we are sincerely sorry.”