Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recounted the fatal Capitol riot in an extended Instagram Live broadcast on Monday night, calling out those in positions of power who intentionally put the lives of others in danger to score political points. During the livestream, AOC also said she is a survivor of sexual assault and compared the current tactics of some Republicans to the same twisted methods used by abusers.
"I thought I was going to die and I had a lot of thoughts," Ocasio-Cortez said during the moving livestream when describing how it felt at the Capitol on Jan. 6 during the MAGA-aligned attack. "You have a lot of thoughts, I think, when you're in a situation like that. … One of those thoughts that I had was, you know, I just happen to be a spiritual person and be raised in that context and I really just felt like if this is the plan for me, then people will be able to take it from here. … I had a lot of thoughts but that was the thought that I had about you all."
Later, AOC noted out the apt abuser tactics comparison while also speaking on the long-term impact trauma often has on a person.
"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. "And 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. And so whether you had a negligent or a neglectful parent, or whether you had someone who was verbally abusive to you, whether you are a survivor of abuse, whether you experience any sort of trauma in your life—small to large—these episodes can compound on one another."
Those aiming to downplay the Capitol violence, AOC emphasized, are "using the same tactics of every other abuser" who tells you to move on or outright denies that the abuse in question ever happened. Pushing for accountability, she said, isn't an act of revenge but instead an effort to craft a safe environment for all.
"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," she said.
On Twitter, AOC thanked supporters for "making the space" for her to open up. Moving forward, she hopes that others will do the same:
If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, help is available.