Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — known by her initials AOC — got candid during an Instagram Live on Monday night when talking about the Capitol riots that happened on January 6, and revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault.
When detailing her experience from the day of the riots, Ocasio-Cortez admitted that people who are telling her “to move on,” or even apologize for attacking President Trump following the violence that erupted, were using “the same tactics of abusers.”
“The reason I say this and the reason I’m getting emotional in this moment is because these folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize,” she said. “These are the same tactics of abusers. And, um, I’m a survivor of sexual assault.”
It appeared to be one of the first times the New York Democrat has spoken about her traumatic past. “And I haven’t told many people that in my life. But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other. And so, whether you had a negligent or a neglectful parent — or whether you had someone who was verbally abusive to you, whether you are a survivor of abuse, whether you experience any sort of trauma in your life, small to large — these episodes can compound on one another.”
Followers were quick to show the Congresswoman support for speaking up and telling her story. “I’m a survivor too, thank you for sharing💕💕💕,” one user wrote, while another said: “I appreciate you so much. Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing this.”
In the almost hour-and-a-half-long clip, Ocasio-Cortez shared her harrowing experience on January 6. She recalled a scary moment when a man came into her office unannounced, knocked on several doors and yelled, “Where is she?” She thought the man looking was part of the violent mob out to get her, but it turned out to be a Capitol Police officer.
“I thought I was going to die,” she recalled. The 31-year-old trailblazer said that she had just returned to her office from getting the second dose of her COVID-19 vaccine when she and a staffer heard the commotion of the insurrectionists storming the Capitol.
Ocasio-Cortez said she hid in the bathroom, and could see the officer — who had yet to identify themselves — in her office. “I have never been quieter in my entire life,” she said, adding: “I held my breath. This was the moment where I thought everything was over.”
Eventually she was rescued, and brought to safety. After the events that took place on January 6 — that, in turn, triggered her experience as a survivor of sexual assault — Ocasio-Cortez vowed, “I’m not going to let it happen again.”