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New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault.
The 31-year-old Democrat, speaking to more than 100,000 people on Instagram Live, described what she went through during the Capitol riot and addressed suggestions from some Republicans that Americans “move on” from the Jan. 6 attack.
“The reason I’m getting emotional in this moment is because these folks who tell us to move on… these are the same tactics of abusers,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“And I’m a survivor of sexual assault,” she continued, her voice breaking. “I haven’t told many people that in my life.”
The congresswoman went on to tell the more than 130,000 viewers that no matter what kind of abuse or neglect they have experienced, “trauma compounds on each other.”
“There’s no, something really big happens to you and then you deal with it and you move on, and then when something else happens to you, you deal with that,” she said.
She didn’t immediately add anything else about the assault.
Ocasio-Cortez later detailed frightening experiences during the siege, including how a man she believed to be a rioter broke into her congressional office as she hid in the bathroom.
She recalled hearing him yell “Where is she? Where is she?”
“This was the moment where I thought everything was over,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“I thought I was going to die,” she said. “I have never been quieter in my entire life.”
Her legislative director later told her to come out, explaining the man was a Capitol police officer.
Ocasio-Cortez also addressed calls for her to apologize after tweeting that Sen. Ted Cruz “almost had me murdered” during the riot.
“Some of the representatives who actually encouraged people to threaten members of Congress … are actually asking me to apologize for saying and speaking truth to what happened.”
“These are the tactics that abusers use,” she said. “And how I feel is, not again.
“I’m not going to let it happen to me again… and I’m not going to let it happen to our country.”