Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Opens Up During A Deeply Moving Instagram Live

With a new president in place, and nearly a month's worth of time between the nation and the violence that gripped the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, it might be tempting to sweep the notion of accountability under the rug for the sake of unity — but New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn't want that. In a deeply moving session on Instagram Live, and which was later uploaded to the congresswoman's Instagram account, Ocasio-Cortez relived the chain of events for the first time, which were unleashed by rioters as they stormed the halls of Congress.

"I hear these huge, violent bangs on my door, and then every door going into my office. Just bang, bang, bang. Like someone was trying to break the door down," she recalled in the video, which has since been viewed over 2 million times. Ocasio-Cortez, who is known to many as AOC, ran back to her office where an aide told her to hide, which she did. "I jump into the bathroom and I immediately realize that I shouldn't have gone into the bathroom, I should have jumped in the closet," she said. "And so I open the door when all of a sudden I hear that whoever was trying to get inside got into my office ... And this was the moment where I thought everything was over. I thought I was going to die."

AOC revealed she is a sexual assault survivor

That "someone" turned out to be a Capitol police officer — but even his presence was suspect, because both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her legislative staffer both agreed that they didn't know "if he was there to help us or hurt us." It was at that point that the congresswoman and her staff ran for cover to another building. They eventually sought refuge in the offices of California representative Katie Porter (via MSNBC).

With the attacks fresh in her mind, AOC rejected calls from various voices within the GOP to move on, and explained why — her admission triggering shock among her listeners. Ocasio-Cortez said: "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. And I'm a survivor of sexual assault and I haven't told many people that in my life."

She continued: "This is not about a different of political opinion, this is about basic humanity. 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."

AOC supporters had her back, called riots 'psychological warfare'

The congresswoman went on Instagram Live with her story on Feb. 1, 2020, the eve of the day Trump is scheduled to answer the articles of impeachment (via USA Today).

AOC's Instagram followers took to social media in support of the congresswoman, with one user responding to the congresswoman's Instagram post by saying "What you went through is true and it should have never happened to you. PTSD is not a disorder — it's a normal response to trauma. What republicans are doing to you and other members of congress is psychological warfare, it would never be tolerated in a workplace so why is it tolerated in the US capitol?"

Another follower commented: "Many of you are going to write a mean comment here, thinking almost nothing, and going on with your day. Ms. Cortez is a human being, and if you actually take the time to watch this video you'll see that she shares some incredibly intimate and traumatizing things that she has been through with us," they noted. "Put your mean words away. She is someone's daughter. Someone's friend. Someone's person. Please, for one day, forget about your differences and recognize that what happened at the Capital was not justifiable. There were bombs, firearms, death. Please — for one moment, choose to have compassion for another person and to not be hateful."

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit for additional resources.