AOC recalls Capitol siege, opens up about experience with sexual assault

Ocasio-Cortez recorded an Instagram live post condemning the Capitol siege and calls from Republican lawmakers to move past the event - likening the strategy to those used by abusive partners.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) walks through the U.S. Capitol, before the signature of the article of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump, in Washington, U.S. January 13, 2021 (photo credit: JOSHUA ROBERTS / REUTERS)
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) walks through the U.S. Capitol, before the signature of the article of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump, in Washington, U.S. January 13, 2021
(photo credit: JOSHUA ROBERTS / REUTERS)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York, 14th District) opened up on Monday, revealing that she is a survivor of sexual assault in an emotional broadcast to her Instagram account.
AOC recorded an Instagram live post condemning the Capitol siege and calls from Republican lawmakers to move past the event - likening the strategy to that used by abusive partners.
She noted that in the days leading up to the certification of Joe Biden's presidency, she had felt uneasy walking around the capitol's streets for days before the January 6 incident, after being harassed by those she identified as fans of former president Donald Trump and being warned by other members of Congress to be "careful" on the day of the rally.
She then detailed the day in question, claiming that she "thought she was going to die," when someone broke into her office during the siege, banging on the doors, asking vehemently, "Where is she?!" As she stayed hiding in the bathroom for her own safety, feeling trapped.
“I just thought to myself that they got inside,” AOC said, according to Politico. “I really just felt like, if this is the plan for me, then people will be able to take it from here.”
Although the intruder ended up being a Capitol police officer who was making sure the representative was safe, the experience alone shook her to the core to the point where she still had troubles speaking about the series of events without choking up or tears beginning to form.
AOC eventually evacuated with a staffer to another building, and scrambled to get into a colleague's office where she hid for hours.
In the days following, she called out Sen. Ted Cruz – as she had done even more vocally in the weeks prior, even calling on the Texas senator to resign, as well as Senator Josh Hawley – and pointed the finger at them directly for inciting the violence and the riots.
The Saturday before the riot, Cruz said he would spearhead a drive by nearly a dozen Republican senators to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when Electoral College results were to be tallied in Congress on January 6 – a largely symbolic move that supposedly had virtually no chance of preventing Biden from taking office.

AOC LOCKED in on Cruz after the senator's office released a statement denouncing the Capitol rioters. The NY representative blamed Cruz's "craven, self-serving actions" for contributing "to the deaths of four people" on Wednesday - a toll later increased to five, after a US Capitol police officer was pronounced dead on Thursday, after succumbing to injuries sustained while policing the riot.
"The reason I'm getting emotional in this moment is because these folks that 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 as abusers,” AOC said. "And I'm a survivor of sexual assault and I haven't told many people that in my life.
“This is not about a difference of political opinion. This is about basic humanity," she added. "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."
She noted that her experience with sexual assault had her struggling "with the idea of being believed," and feeling that her emotions are valid and warranted.
“How I felt was: Not again,” AOC added. “I’m not going to let this happen again.”
Ocasio-Cortez intends to hold the Republican Party, and those involved in inciting the violence on January 6, totally accountable for their actions.
"We cannot move on without accountability; we cannot heal without accountability,” she said. “And so all of these people who want to tell us to move on are doing so at their own convenience." Basically saying, "'I would do it again; I don’t regret it at all.' If that’s their stance, they continue to be a danger for their colleagues,” she added.
AOC later wrote on Twitter that her “story isn’t the only story, nor is it the central story of what happened on Jan 6th.“
“It is just one story of many of those whose lives were endangered at the Capitol by the lies, threats and violence, fanned by the cowardice of people who chose personal gain above democracy," she concluded.

Reuters contributed to this report.