Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opens up about sexual assault and trauma from Capitol riots

'I thought I was going to die,' New York congresswoman says

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on moment she thought 'everything was over' during Capitol riot

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on moment she thought 'everything was over' during Capitol riot
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US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Instagram Live on Monday night for an emotional broadcast during which she recounted her experiences during the January 6 Capitol riots.

She said she feared for her life when Trump supporters stormed the building. Five people died and dozens of police officers were injured during the riot.

"I thought I was going to die," Ms Ocasio-Cortez said, visibly shaken.

The New York congresswoman demanded that Republicans be held accountable for their role in influencing or encouraging the rioters.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez said calls from Republican politicians, such as Ted Cruz, to "move on" were akin to abuse.

"The reason I'm getting emotional in this moment is because 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 apologise, these are the same tactics of abusers," she said.

"And I'm a survivor of sexual assault and I haven't told many people that in my life.

"When we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other."

In the late-night address viewed more than 350,000 times, Ms Ocasio-Cortez shared details about her movements during the riot.

She hid in her office bathroom after hearing a man approaching while yelling: "Where is she?"

“This was the moment where I thought everything was over. I thought I was going to die,” she said.

The man turned out to be a police officer, but Ms Ocasio-Cortez said that did not ease her fears.

“It didn’t feel right because he was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility," she said.

The officer told her to run to another building, but did not tell her which one, she said.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez ended up barricaded in congresswoman Katie Porter's office in the Longworth House Office building, with furniture up against the doors.

While hiding in the office, Ms Ocasio-Cortez changed into a pair of running shoes, borrowed from a staffer, because she had been running through the building in heels.

The effects of the Capitol riot continue to reverberate in Congress and make it difficult for some Democrats to embrace President Joe Biden's calls to seek common ground with Republicans.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez last week exchanged angry tweets with Mr Cruz when he said he agreed with her comments about recent stock market volatility.

"I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there's common ground, but you almost had me murdered three weeks ago so you can sit this one out," she wrote.