KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin's controversial comments over rape and pregnancy have caused a political firestorm across the nation.
But for one metro rape survivor, Akin's comments were more than political - they were a traumatic reminder of a life-changing crime.
Diana Meyer was raped in 2005. She says that Akin's comments regarding what he referred to as "legitimate rape" were especially painful.
"I'll never be the same person I was before the assault," said Meyer. "It makes us relive things. It brings up the isolation, the rage, the questions, the pain."
In his comments to St. Louis-area television station KTVI FOX-2 broadcast on Sunday, Akin claimed that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant because their bodies have a way to “shut that whole thing down.”
Across the nation, many women from the entire political spectrum denounced Akin's comments. But for rape survivors like Meyer, his comments were far more personal.
"There are no different shades of rape. Rape is rape. Sexual assault is rape, it's the same thing," said Meyer. "So for him to attempt to dissect the legitimacy of rape is offensive."
Akin has since apologized for his choice of words, including releasing a new ad on Tuesday asking voters for "forgiveness." But for his U.S. Senate campaign, the damge may have already been done, as GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and many other high-ranking Republicans quickly denounced his comments and called on Akin to quit the race.
Republicans had looked at Missouri as a potential gain in the November election, as incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill was trailing Akin by a large margin in many polls. But since Akin's comments, that lead has all but evaporated, as has his support among influential campaign donors.
At this point, Akin says that he is staying in the race, but at least one metro GOP strategist the loss of campaign funds - including $5 million from the Republican Senatorial Committee alone - could mean his chances of winning are gone.
"When the higher-ups began to pull the money, that was the signal that it wasn't going to work for him," said GOP political strategist Annie Presley.
Akin has until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday to withdrawal from the race. If that happens, the Missouri Republican Party State Committee will pick his successor on the fall ballot.