On Monday, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared an emotional video about the riot at the U.S. Capitol and how her past as a sexual assault victim influenced what she went through.
Ocasio-Cortez recalled in an Instagram Live of over 150,000 people going into hiding as rioters scaled the Capitol on January 6, hiding in a bathroom in her office while hearing pounding on the walls and a man screaming, “Where is she?”
“I thought I was going to die,” she said. “And I had a lot of thoughts. I was thinking if this is the plan for me, then people will be able to take it from here.”
Ocasio-Cortez expressed her anger in the video when asked to “move on” after the attack, comparing it to the phrase heard by many sexual assault survivors. She said, “These folks like to tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what happened, even telling us that we should apologize – these are the same tactics of abusers.”
“I’m a survivor of sexual assault,” she added. “And I haven’t told many people that in my life. But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other.”
Ocasio-Cortez said in a video last month that during the Capitol attack, she feared for her life.
On Monday, she said she had been worrying for days before the riot about the security situation, having been warned by many individuals, including other lawmakers, about potential violence.
After she returned from getting her Covid-19 vaccine, she said the incident at her office took place.
“I immediately realized I shouldn’t have gone into the bathroom. I should have gone in the closet,” she said. “Then I hear whoever was trying to get inside got into my office. I realize it’s too late.”
“This was the moment I thought everything was over. I thought I was going to die,” she said.
While wiping away her tears, she said, “I start to look through the door hinge to see if I can see anything. I see this white man in a black beanie and yell again,” she said. “I have never been quieter in my entire life.”
Eventually, a staffer advised her it was safe to exit from the bathroom where she was hiding, and a police officer from the Capitol was present in her office. She remembered leaving her office with her staff and finally finding refuge in the California Senator, Katie Porter’s office.
Ocasio-Cortez said that her concerns were heightened due to being Latino among the predominantly white mob.