Ocasio-Cortez says she is survivor of sexual assault while recounting riot
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault on Monday as she recounted her experience during the Capitol riot, accusing lawmakers who called for people to “move on” from the melee of using “the tactics that abusers use.”
The New York Democrat identified herself as a sexual assault survivor while live on Instagram ahead of detailing her personal experience of the mob that overtook the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“I’m a survivor of sexual assault,” she said, becoming emotional while calling for “accountability” from lawmakers she said helped incite the riots that resulted in five deaths, including that of a Capitol Police officer.
Ocasio-Cortez pointed to comments that lawmakers made saying people are “making too big a deal over” the breach or calling on her to apologize for tweeting that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “almost had me murdered.”
“We cannot move on without accountability,” she said. “We cannot heal without accountability. All these people telling us to move on are doing so at their own convenience.”
“These are the tactics that abusers use,” she said. “The folks who are saying, ‘We should move on,’ ‘We shouldn’t have accountability,’ etc., are saying, ‘Can you just forget about this so we can do it again?’”
“How I felt was, not again. I’m not going to let this happen again,” she said. “I’m not gonna let it happen to me again. I’m not going to let it happen to the other people who’ve been victimized by this situation again. And I’m not gonna let this happen to our country.”
.@AOC: “The folks who are saying we should move on, we shouldn’t have accountability, etc., are saying: ‘Can you just forget about this so that we can do it again?’” pic.twitter.com/nB9zacqD2e
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) February 2, 2021
Ocasio-Cortez said she waited about a month to tell her story to give lawmakers, including Cruz, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), “a window of opportunity” to express regret for supporting the Electoral College challenges.
“But no, they’ve had almost a month, and they haven’t said that,” she said. “They have doubled down.”
The three Republican lawmakers challenged the Electoral College results even after the House and Senate had reconvened that evening following the riots in which lawmakers had to evacuate and scramble for safety when the pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol.
“So that tells me that these people remain a present danger,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding they would take the same actions “given another window of political” opportunity.
The New York Democrat said she experienced a confrontation with protesters that Monday as they crowded behind her car parked in front of the Capitol. She said some were holding flag poles with speared tips and that several participated in “schoolyard bully silliness” by picking fights with her before she drove away.
She said she was in her office Wednesday afternoon when she heard banging on the doors, prompting her to hide in the bathroom. She attempted to switch to a closet before someone entered the office.
Ocasio-Cortez told viewers that she heard a man yelling, “Where is she?” repeatedly.
“This was the moment where I thought everything was over,” she said. “In retrospect, maybe it was four seconds. Maybe it was five seconds. Maybe it was 10 seconds. Maybe it was one second. I don’t know. It felt like my brain was able to have so many thoughts in that moment between these screams and these yells of ‘Where is she? Where is she?”
“I thought I was going to die,” she continued. “You have a lot of thoughts I think when you’re in a situation like that. And like also one of those thoughts that I have is … I really just felt like if this is the plan for me, then people will be able to take it from here.”
She said a man yelling in her office ended up being a Capitol Police officer who had not announced himself and was being aggressive, leaving her and her staffer not knowing “if he was there to help us or hurt us.”
The officer directed her and her staffer to a different building but did not escort her or provide specific instructions on where to go beyond the ground level.
Ocasio-Cortez said she and her staffer ran from building to building to try to find a safe area before she saw Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and took refuge in her office for five hours instead of leaving through an “extraction point” because they didn’t feel that was the safest option at the time.
Ocasio-Cortez said thoughts of her life being in danger continued to race as she hid in the bathroom in her office before she was able to escape.
“I felt like if this was the journey my life was taking, that I felt that things were going to be OK and that I had fulfilled my purpose,” she said while tearing up.
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