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Women's Advocates Condemn Erika Harold for Sexual Harassment Victim Blaming

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Chicago, IL — Today, State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, State Sen. Heather Steans, and State Rep. Ann Williams and representatives of Planned Parenthood and Equality Illinois condemned Republican AG nominee Erika Harold for blaming and shaming victims of sexual harassment and called out the hypocrisy of her latest ad.

The Harold campaign is airing a TV ad claiming she'll "make sure every victim of sexual assault and harassment knows the Attorney General has their back," but a newly-uncovered interview reveals Harold's troubling past of victim blaming.

This is what Harold had to say about victims of sexual harassment which she continues to stand by:

"I think that if a young person is engaged in a promiscuous lifestyle, it makes them vulnerable to other risk factors, so I definitely see a tie-in there…Many victims of sexual harassment believe what is said about them, and they become very promiscuous. When they're called a whore, when they're called a slut, they think, 'That's what I want to be,' and so they engage in a pattern of self-destruction that can be very detrimental to their lives."

In response, women's advocates condemned Harold's remarks and hypocrisy on standing up for victims of sexual assault and harassment:

"Erika Harold has said time and again that her personal views don't matter," said State Senator Heather Steans. "She says her personal views don't matter when she reportedly said she'd rather see a child adopted by a known child abuser than a loving gay couple. She says they don't matter when she opposes a woman's right to choose, even in cases of rape or incest. And she'll probably say her personal views don't matter now. But the truth is as Erika Harold runs ads trying to co-opt the #MeToo movement and saying she'll have victims' backs as attorney general, a despicable record of victim blaming has emerged."

"When taken together with her extreme views on abortion and LGBTQ equality, a common theme emerges. Erika Harold continues to blame, shame and judge people and wants to restrict and control what they do with their bodies and their lives," said State Representative Ann Williams. "I am troubled and concerned about Erika Harold's comments. These comments, which she stood by yesterday, made a disturbing and bizarre correlation between sexual harassment and bullying and 'promiscuity.' Survivors of sexual harassment and bullying deserve to be supported and validated. The Attorney General's office is no place for someone engaging in victim blaming, victim shaming or victim judging."

"When it comes to LGBTQ rights, a woman's right to choose, and sexual harassment, what we're seeing from Erika Harold is a pattern of extreme right-wing views that she wants to keep secret," said State Senator Kimberly Lightford. "She says her personal views don't matter because Erika Harold's personal views are too extreme for Illinois. Personal views do matter. They speak to character and integrity and the type of leader we can expect our next attorney general to be. That's why I support Kwame Raoul. Kwame has been advocating for women and helping victims of sexual harassment obtain justice and assistance for decades. And, unlike Erika Harold, Kwame has fought and will continue to fight to protect a woman's right to choose and access to healthcare, regardless of her income or zip code. Kwame doesn't shy away from his personal views because he's proud of them — not ashamed of them like Erika Harold."

"Erika Harold's victim blaming and victim shaming comments perpetuate the stigma surrounding sexual assault survivors," said Planned Parenthood Illinois Action PAC's Paula Thornton Greear. "When, if, how, and why a victim comes forward is up to them; but when people like Erika Harold place the blame on survivors the ability to speak freely is negated."

"Illinois needs an Attorney General who will lead the fight for equality and justice before the Supreme Court, where Judge Kavanaugh is now the likely deciding vote on so many issues affecting our lives, including non-discrimination protections, licenses to discriminate, and the rights of transgender students in schools," said Equality Illinois PAC's Mike Ziri. "Erika Harold will not stand up for women's rights, LGBTQ equality and the values of our state. We need an Attorney General who will fight for us — and that's Kwame Raoul."

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