Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shares She's a Sexual Assault Survivor

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opened up publicly about being a sexual assault survivor while sharing her story from when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in January.

By Samantha Schnurr Feb 02, 2021 7:13 PMTags
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In recalling one traumatic experience, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke publicly about another. 

Late Monday, Feb. 1, the 31-year-old congresswoman connected virtually with the public via an Instagram Live. Shortly after beginning the nearly-90-minute appearance, in which she shared her story of what happened to her as rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against those people who "helped perpetrate and take responsibility for" what transpired on that now-infamous day in American history. 

"All of these people who want to tell us to move on," she said, "are doing so at their own convenience." Ocasio-Cortez then shifted her attention briefly to loved ones with an advanced apology. 

"If you are learning things about me in the course of this live that you didn't know before," she told viewers, "and it's not a thing about hiding or anything like that, but sometimes you just can't tell the same story over and over."  

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The United States representative elaborated further on what she was referring to. "The reason I say this and 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 apologize—these are the same tactics of abusers," she said. "I'm a survivor of sexual assault and I haven't told many people that in my life."

In sharing her story, Ocasio-Cortez reflected on the toll trauma can take when more trauma is experienced. "When we go through trauma," she said, "trauma compounds on each other."

With her now-viral statement, the congresswoman has since spurred more people to join the digital conversation with their #MeToo stories and experiences

"My story isn't the only story, nor is it the central story of what happened on Jan 6th," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted late Monday. "It is just one story of many of those whose lives were endangered at the Capitol by the lies, threats, and violence fanned by the cowardice of people who chose personal gain above democracy."

She continued, "Thanks for making the space for me, and hope we can all make space for others to tell their stories in the weeks to come. And to those who wish to paper over their misdeeds by rushing us to all 'move on' - we can move on when the individuals responsible are held to account."

Kerry Washington responded in a tweet, "Thank you for sharing your story @AOC. We cannot. And will not 'move on' without accountability."

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