Pool/Abaca/Zuma

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a raw and emotional Instagram Live broadcast on Monday, revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault and condemned Republicans pushing her to move on from the Capitol attack as employing the same “tactics of abusers.”

“I’m a survivor of sexual assault—and I haven’t told many people that in my life,” the New York congresswoman said, speaking to an audience of about 150,000 viewers. “But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other.” 

“So whether you had 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.”

Ocasio-Cortez also shared more harrowing details from inside the January 6 insurrection, recalling that she was forced to hide in her office bathroom while a man screamed outside, “Where is she? Where is she?” 

“This is the moment where I thought everything was over,” she continued. “I thought I was going to die.” The voice turned out to belong to a Capitol police officer, who she says he looked at her with “a tremendous amount of anger and hostility.” Shortly after, Ocasio-Cortez and a staffer ran to another building and hid with Rep. Katie Porter. 

Porter recounted her time with Ocasio-Cortez that day to MSNBC on Monday. “The thing that will always stay with me,” she said, “the two memories especially as a mom I think that were just really powerful for me was when I said, “Don’t worry, I’m a mom, I’m calm, I’ve got everything here that we need’…And she said, ‘I just hope I get to be a mom, I hope I don’t die today.'”

“The second thing is that she was wearing heels—I was wearing flats,” Porter continued. “I remember her saying to me, ‘I knew I shouldn’t have worn heels. How am I going to run?’ And we went and found her a pair of sneakers to wear from one of my staffers so that she could run if she literally needed to run for her life.” 

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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