Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has opened up about her personal experience of the January 6th insurrection on the US Capitol, detailing that she thought she was going to die, and that members of congress were warned well before the date to take caution.
On Tuesday, she hopped on Instagram Live to give her followers her personal account of the riots. This marks one of the first accounts from a politician about just how horrifying the day was, and is a devastating insight into how everyone in the building feared for their lives. The live video went for an hour and a half, and also touched upon AOC’s history of surviving sexual assault.
According to AOC, she immediately sought a place to hide once she heard multiple bangs on her door.
“I go into the back, and there’s a bathroom, and then there’s a closet. And I jump into the bathroom. And I immediately realized that I shouldn’t have gone to the bathroom, I should have jumped in the closet. And so, I opened the door, when all of a sudden I hear that whoever was trying to get inside, got into my office,” she said.
“And then I just start to hear these yells of, ‘where is she? Where is she?'”
It was at this point that AOC says she “thought everything was over.” She even goes as far as saying that if she was to meet her end during the riots, that she felt as if she had “achieved her life’s purpose,” which honestly has me sobbing.
Thanks to her staffers, she was apparently quickly aided out of her office, and immediately fled to the office of Representative Katie Porter, who gave her a change of clothes to disguise her.
“It almost felt like a zombie movie.”
However, AOC makes it clear that this event was not a surprise to anyone working within the Capitol. According to her video, individuals were warned well in advance to the attack to “be careful about the sixth.”
“Anyone who tells you that we couldn’t have seen this coming is lying to you. Anyone who’s gone on the record and said that there was no indication of violence has lied.”
Throughout the vid, AOC also opens up about how she is a “survivor of sexual assault,” which occurred well before the attack but still impacts her life.
“I’m a survivor of sexual assault, and I haven’t told many people that in my life,” she said.
“If you have experienced any sort of trauma… recognizing that and admitting it is already a huge step, especially in a world where people are constantly trying to tell you that you didn’t experience what you experienced, or that you’re lying.”
“If you are a survivor of abuse or neglect of verbal abuse of sexual assault, there’s the trauma of going through what you went through. Then there’s the trauma afterwards, of people not believing you or trying to publicly humiliate you or trying to embarrass you.”
You can watch the full video from AOC below here.
Help is available.
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If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.Image: Instagram / @aoc