In a show of trust, the lawmaker revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault. However, she was attacked, berated and erroneously "fact-checked" by Republicans who tried to make her look like a liar.
The MAGA rioters who broke into the Capitol on 6 January, 2021, left not just Americans, but the whole world in utter disbelief. Looking at images of rioters climbing walls, breaking down doors, and stealing goverment property, many called it dumb and a mission with no goal. But for the lawmakers who were in the building at the time, it was a very different experience. While some did speak about the experience and how they feared for their life at the time, it would be understandably a lot more different for survivors of sexual assault and trauma. And one such lawmaker was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
AOC recently opened up about the harrowing moments where she thought she was going to be taken hostage or die in an Instagram Live. According to USA Today, Cortez stated that it "almost felt like a zombie movie or something."
When the lawmakers and Capitol staffers in the building were informed of the breach by angry rioters, they were asked to lock doors, and find places to hide. Around the time that the angry mob had finally breached U.S. Capitol, she mentioned that someone began banging on the doors of her office. She had found a bathroom to hide in, which was inside her inner office. The lawmaker described how she heard a man yelling, " 'Where is she?'"
The New York democrat is a survivor of sexual assault, and anyone who has had to go through the harrowing experience would know that being faced with a similar, or worse consequence can be quite traumatic. It is important to note that many rioters were photographed carrying ziptie handcuffs indicating that they had come prepared to take hostages.
When she saw a man wearing a black beanie through the door hinge as he continued to yell looking for her, AOC continued, "I thought I was going to die. This is the moment where I thought, 'Everything is over.'" Ocasio-Cortez and her legislative director realized the man was actually a Capitol Police officer, but he didn't identify himself as such and "was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility," she said.
.@AOC describes a Capitol Police officer bursting into her office, says his presence “didn’t feel right” and that he was looking at her “in all of this anger and hostility.” Her staffer reportedly wondered if he would have to fight the officer. pic.twitter.com/LCj2JmmFP6— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) February 2, 2021
With approximately 150,000 viewers watching her open up about the harrowing experience, Ocasio-Cortez held back her tears and frankly spoke about why she was getting emotional, "The reason I’m getting emotional in this moment is because these folks who tell us to move on, that it's no big, that we should forget ... these are the same tactics of abusers," she said. "And I’m a survivor of sexual assault. I haven’t told many people that in my life. But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other. 'Can we just forget this happened so that I can do it again without recourse?' And that’s what these folks are asking," she said.
What makes the news all the more disheartening is that while the 31-year-old was brave enough to speak about her experience and open up about being a survivor of sexual assult, she was mocked and dubbed “Alexandria Ocasio-Smollett.” Some even went as far as to say that she exaggerated the extent of her trauma from the Capitol riot, claiming that she was not at the site of the siege, but in an office building nearby, according to NY Post. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) tweeted, “My office is 2 doors down. Insurrectionists never stormed our hallway.” Once the accusation began to make rounds on social media, the Democratic socialist was getting dragged for it.
This is a deeply cynical & disgusting attack, @NancyMace.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 4, 2021
As the Capitol complex was stormed and people were being killed, none of us knew in the moment what areas were compromised.
You previously told reporters yourself that you barricaded in your office, afraid you’d be hurt. https://t.co/4FyWsaXSDx pic.twitter.com/7gW6yKO9gJ
Conservative journalist Jack Posobiec too tried to paint her as a liar by sharing a map of the Capitol complex on Twitter.
And to this the New York lawmaker responded:
This isn’t a fact check at all. Your arrows aren’t accurate. They lie about where the mob stormed & place them further away than it was.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 3, 2021
You also fail to the convey *multiple* areas people were trying to storm. It wasn’t 1. You also failed to show tunnels. Poor job all around.
The tunnels she speaks of are ones that were mentioned in an actual fact check of the accusations being made. "These claims from Ocasio-Cortez critics leave out key context. First, the Cannon building is connected to the Capitol via an underground walkway that is frequently used by legislators, aides, journalists and others; the Cannon building is considered part of the Capitol complex. Second, Ocasio-Cortez did not mislead about where she was during the insurrection; she explicitly explained on Instagram Live that her office is in a building near the Capitol," read CNN Edition.
Additionally, it was mentioned that Capitol Police instructed people to evacuate the Cannon building amid the Capitol attack as well as the fact that a pipe bomb was found that day outside the office of the Republican National Committee, which is just down the street from Cannon building.
Reps for Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez provided a statement to NY Post, affirming this fact. “The Congresswoman’s office is connected to the Capitol Dome by an underground tunnel. It is at most a 10 minute walk. If someone breaks into your house through the kitchen, and you’re physically upstairs, no one thinks you’re safe. Capitol police evacuated her office building during the attack because they deemed them at significant risk. In reality, there is no actual question about whether Members, particularly high profile targets for the Right, were at risk that day."
The statement continued, "This online campaign of disinformation is nothing more than an attempt for Republicans to avoid accountability for inciting a deadly riot that killed five people, including a police officer, and attempted to overthrow a democratic election.”