Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in recounting her harrowing experience of the January 6 riots at the Capitol, said publicly for the first time that she is a sexual assault survivor and said that being told to “move on” from the riots last month reminded her of the tactics of abusers.
“These folks who tell us to ‘move on,’ that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what happened or even telling us to apologize — these are the same tactics of abusers,” she said. “And I’m a survivor of sexual assault.”
In an Instagram live video Monday with over 150,000 viewers, Ocasio-Cortez shared her recollections of January 6, the day that supporters of President Trump overran the Capitol, while lawmakers were in session to affirm Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
Ocasio-Cortez, one of the best known progressive voices in the country, said there were moments that day when she thought she wouldn’t make it out of the complex alive.
Hiding in the bathroom in her office behind the door, she said, “I just start to hear these yells: ‘Where is she? Where is she?’ This was the moment where I thought it was over.”
But the man yelling ended up being a Capitol Police officer, who, she said, failed to communicate with her group where their extraction point was or to escort them to it.
“Did he not give us the extraction point location because he forgot, or was he trying to actually put us in a vulnerable […] situation?” she said. “Just the very uncertainty that you don’t know if that person was actually trying to protect you or not is already deeply unsettling.”
As the dust settled after the riot, Ocasio-Cortez said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley gave her good advice.
“What you experienced was traumatizing. And you need to take care of yourself,” she said.