Feb. 2, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed Monday that she is a sexual assault survivor during an Instagram Live video, in which she also recounted more details about her harrowing experience during the Capitol riot.
“I am a survivor of sexual assault,” she said, as her voice filled with emotion. “I haven’t told many people that in my life.”
Ocasio-Cortez did not disclose the circumstances of the assault during the 90-minute video, which had been viewed more than two million times as of Tuesday morning.
The congresswoman likened many people’s attitude toward sexual assault–to that of what took place at the Capitol.
She said that she is being told “to move on,” forget and even apologize in the wake of the mob attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. “These are the same tactics of abusers,” she said.
During the video, Ocasio-Cortez also recounted more information about the Capitol insurrection and how she hid in a bathroom and feared for her life after protestors breached the building.
The congress member said she had just returned to her office after receiving her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination when she heard violent banging on doors in the hallway. She hid in a bathroom and then heard a man’s voice yelling “’Where is she?’”
“This was the moment where I thought everything was over,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I have never been quieter in my entire life.”
“I felt that if this was the journey my life was taking… [that] things were going to be ok … and that I had fulfilled my purpose,” she said, before wiping away tears.
The person who had been asking where she was was in fact a Capitol police officer, who directed her to go to another location. She said the situation did not feel right and said that the officer looked at her with “a tremendous amount of anger and hostility.”
Ocasio-Cortez and a staffer then urgently sought shelter elsewhere and eventually hid in the office of Congresswoman Katie Porter. “It almost felt like a zombie movie or something,” she said.
The congress members and their staff members turned off the lights, barricaded the doors and found more casual clothing to wear in case they needed to blend in with the crowd and make a quick escape.
Ocasio-Cortez said she stayed in Porter’s office for about five hours and then sheltered with Rep. Ayanna Pressley until about 4 a.m.
She said she refrained from tweeting during the day. “I wasn’t safe. I did not feel safe, and I wasn’t going to lie,” she explained.