Speaking during an Instagram Live chat about the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Alexandria Ocazio-Cortez recently revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault and connected the denial of the serious nature of the attack to the mentality of “abusers.”
“I’m getting emotional in this moment because the 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,” the New York congresswoman said. “I’m a survivor of sexual assault and I haven't told many people that in my life. But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other."
OPINION: After The Storming Of The Capitol Building, It’s Obvious We Live In Two Different Americas
She explained that traumatic experiences simply don’t go away and victims don’t just move on. “All of our experiences make us who we are and that’s also to say that most people live with trauma...there is a community of so many people who can understand.
“So when I see a party that cheered on violence...when we don’t know how many people are going to develop PTSD after what happened, when we don’t know how many people are still hospitalized...and these people are trying to tell us it’s not a big deal and they’re trying to say, you’re making too big a deal over it.”
Ocasio-Cortez was one of dozens of legislators who had to run to safety when a large mob of people, angered and in denial of former President Trump’s loss in the 2020 election, stormed the building, vandalizing and ransacking it. Some named specific people including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Vice President Mike Pence.
RELATED: Capitol Hill Officer Eugene Goodman Being Called A Hero For Split-Second Thinking During Riot That Likely Saved Lives
Ocazio-Cortez said she ran to her office bathroom to hide and heard banging on the door, which she believed was “the moment I thought everything was over, I thought I was going to die,” PEOPLE magazine reported. It turned out the voice calling out “where is she” was a U.S. Capitol police officer.
The siege left five people dead including Capitol policeman Brian Sicknick, who was beaten by rioters in the incident and died the next day. At least 200 people have since been charged for participating in the violence, according to the Associated Press.
Ocasio-Cortez said legislators who helped fuel the false claims that Trump won the election, which in turn fueled the rancor that resulted in the storming of the capitol building, should be held accountable.
"We need accountability," said Ocasio-Cortez. "It's not about revenge.. It's about creating safety. And we are not safe with people who hold positions of power who are willing to endanger the lives of others if they think it will score them a political point."