Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reveals she is sexual assault survivor during Instagram Live on Capitol attack

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Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez reveals she's a sexual assault survivor
Darla Miles reports on the congresswoman's revealation.

NEW YORK -- A teary-eyed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday recounted hiding in her office bathroom as a man repeatedly yelled "Where is she?" during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and also revealed a sexual assault in her past as she talked about trauma.

The remembered terror of the day made Ocasio-Cortez get emotional as she spoke during an Instagram live video, and she chastised those she said wanted Americans to put the day behind them and not recognize the lingering impact of such an event.

"These folks who 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 of abusers," she said.

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She went on to say, "I'm a survivor of sexual assault. ... When we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other." She didn't say anything else about that experience.

Ocasio-Cortez said the atmosphere around the Capitol and Washington had started to feel more tense and volatile in the days before the insurrection.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was talking about her traumautic experience during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, when she revealed this personal story about being a sexual assault survivor.

On that day, she said she was in her office when she heard repeated bangs on the door, like someone was trying to get in. Her legislative director told her to hide, and she went into the bathroom.

That was when she heard a man yelling and trying to find her. "I have never been quieter in my life," she said.

She came out shortly after when her legislative director told her to, and saw a Capitol police officer in the office. She said the officer told them to go to another building, but didn't say specifically where or escort them, leaving her feeling unsafe.

"You don't know if that person was actually trying to protect you or not," she said.

READ MORE: Alleged Capitol rioter accused of threatening to 'assassinate' Rep. Ocasio-Cortez

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the country, an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds. Every nine minutes that victim is a child, and only five out every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.

RAINN said the majority of sexual assaults occur at or near the victim's home.

You can read more information on the RAINN website, which also provides information on safety and prevention.

If you or someone you know needs help, they can reach out to 800-656-HOPE (4673) or use the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline live chat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.