NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teary-eyed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday recounted hiding in her office bathroom during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and also revealed a sexual assault in her past as she talked about trauma.NYPD Officer Jason Rivera Fatally Shot, Officer Wilbert Mora Critically Injured Responding To Harlem Domestic Dispute
She is known as an outspoken and prominent progressive leader, representing parts of the Bronx and Queens. But on Monday, she bravely showed her vulnerable side, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“I’m a survivor of sexual assault … and I haven’t told many people that in my life,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “When we go through trauma … trauma compounds on each other.”
While she did not go into details, Ocasio-Cortez shared her painful reality with thousands of her followers in a live stream video on Instagram.
The emotional admission, triggered by her frightening experience during the insurrection in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6. During the 90-minute video, she detailed the terrifying moment she hid in her office, fearing for her life.
“And I just hear, ‘Where is she?! Where is she?!’ And it was at that moment where I thought everything was over,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The trauma is sparking her call for accountability for the U.S. Capitol riot.
She encouraged victims of all abuse to speak out.READ MORE: 'The Loss Of A Hero': New York Mourns Death Of 22-Year-Old NYPD Officer Jason Rivera
“We cannot move on without accountability. We cannot heal without accountability,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Sara Zaidi, director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, said AOC going public is empowering for abuse victims.
“I absolutely applaud her for coming forward. I think for people to hear that, from her, was normalizing it a little bit, that it’s OK for you to feel upset, to feel anxious, to feel triggered in that situation,” Zaidi said.
Psychologist Brittany Lemonda said the congresswoman’s message may inspire others to speak out in their own way.
“Maybe they speak out to family members. Maybe it starts there,” Lemonda said. “To not have it bottled in and they can feel empowered from that. They can feel like they’re taking a step in the healing process.”
“Talk to someone about it, acknowledge it in your heart. And I hope that you get the courage to do everything that you need to do to heal,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
And always know, you’re not alone.MORE NEWS: Lashawn McNeil, Suspect In Deadly Harlem Police Shooting, Was On Probation, Had 5 Prior Arrests
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