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What did AOC say on Instagram about sexual assault and the Capital Hill invasion?

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has revealed in a social media post that the violent riots of 6 January brought back memories of her experiences as a sexual assualt survivor.

What did AOC say on Instagram about sexual assault and the Capital Hill invasion?
ANDREW KELLY REUTERS

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hosted an Instagram Live broadcast on Monday evening in which she opened up about her harrowing experiences of the Capitol Hill riots last month and made reference to previous sexual assault.

The New York-based Representative is a particularly prominent figure in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and has been a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump in the past. As such she was reportedly a target for pro-Trump rioters.

AOC speaks out on Capitol Hill insurrection

In an emotional video streamed live on social media Rep. Ocasio-Cortez recounted her experience of the Capitol Hill attacks of 6 January 2021 which left five people dead. A mob of Trump supporters charged on Congress, broke through the meagre police cordon and roamed the halls of government looking for elected officials.

As the assault on the democratic process was taking place, AOC explains that she was forced to hide in a bathroom in a nearby office to avoid being found by the violent rioters. She recalls hearing a male voices shouting: “Where is she? Where is she?”, as the mob banged on her office door.

“I thought I was going to die,” she said in the Instagram Live broadcast. “And I had a lot of thoughts. I was thinking if this is the plan for me, people will be able to take it from here.”

She explained that she had been warned about the security situation in the Capitol in the build up to 6 January, and other lawmakers had warned her of the threat of violence. As a Latina she had particular fears over her safety as the far-right group stormed Congress, some of whom had links to white supremacist groups.

She said: "The week prior to the insurrection I started to get text messages that I needed to be careful, and that in particular, I needed to be careful about (January 6)… Those text messages came from other members of Congress.”

Ocasio-Cortez recounts experience as a survivor of sexual assault

The violent intent involved in the Capitol Hill riots would have been painful for anyone in Congress that day, but AOC explained that previous experiences made her feel particularly vulnerable as she hid from mobs.

Speaking publically about her own experiences for the first time, the Congresswoman said: “I’m a survivor of sexual assault.” She added “I haven't told many people that in my life. But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other.”

Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly called for accountability for those who inspired and incited the violent scenes in the Capitol that day. She was a vocal supporter of the Democrat’s House bill which called on Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for his role in the riots.

In recent days she has hit out at Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who had repeatedly furthered Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud which sparked the riots. There are growing calls for the likes of Cruz and fellow GOP Congressman Josh Hawley to be removed for their support of Trump’s attempts to overturn the election result.

Speaking on Instagram Live, AOC said the refusal to hold those culpable to account mirrored the way victims of sexual assault are often dismissed.

She said that members of Congress who were threatened last month have been told: “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 of abusers. And, um, I'm a survivor of sexual assault.”