In A Powerful Moment, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shares Her Experience as Sexual Assault Survivor

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Photo: Instagram screenshot.

On February 1, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stayed true to her tweet about telling the public about her experience with Capitol rioters from January 6. In an emotional Instagram live, she opened up about how frightened she felt and how she thought it was the last moment of her life. 

Better known as AOC, the congresswoman shared how certain congress members have told her to move on from the situation. “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. These are the same tactics of abusers. And, um, I’m a survivor of sexual assault,” she shared as she held back tears. 

Though she did not go into the details of her sexual assault, she made it clear that not many people know of this traumatic experience, saying, “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, and — 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.” 

Her Instagram live was more than an hour and a half long and recounted the events of January 6. Though her story has gone viral of admitting her assault experience, the entire broadcast was not meant for that. It was merely to compare a previous life experience to one she had just had. 

The streaming went on to explain the very moment she thought her life was done, hearing someone screaming, “Where is she? Where is she?” However, it turned out to be law enforcement getting her to move to a secure location. 

She spoke about the messages she received about being careful on that very day. On days leading up to the 6th, she said after driving to the Capitol, when getting back in her car, Trump supporters were by it bothering her, and increasing numbers of cross grew outside of the Capitol. She noted it “felt actively volatile and dangerous.”

She went on to talk about Capitol Police and feeling unsafe with them even, not knowing if she could trust them. After seeing Representative Katie Porter from California, she asked to join her. AOC looked through the office, looking to block the door with furniture and for clothes to change into in case she needed to literally run for her life. 

AOC’s story is one of 435 members of the House that day. Though she said it was healing, she said what is needed is accountability, which is not about revenge, “It’s about creating safety. And we are not safe with people who hold positions of power who are willing to endanger the lives of others if they think it will score them a political point.”