AOC reveals she is a survivor of sexual assault: ‘I haven’t told many people that in my life’

‘These episodes can compound on one another’

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
Tuesday 02 February 2021 03:35
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AOC reveals she is a survivor of sexual assault
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Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has revealed she is a survivor of sexual assault – and denounced Republicans and those telling her and others to “move on” from the storming of the US Capitol.

In comments that felt both raw and urgent, she likened the aftermath of the assault to how some people were now telling her not to become fixated on the events of 6 January, when hundreds of supporters of Donald Trump stormed the federal legislature building in Washington DC, as a joint session of Congress affirmed the votes for Joe Biden’s election victory.

“We cannot move on without accountability. We cannot heal without accountability.  All these people telling us to move on are doing so at their own convenience,” she said.

She added: “These are the tactics that abusers use, the folks who are saying we should move on, we shouldn’t have accountability etc, are saying: ‘Can you just forget about this so we can do it again?’”

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She added: “So anyways. 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 apologise. These are the same tactics of abusers.”

She added: “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, you know, neglectful parents and, or whether you had someone who was verbally abusive to you.

“Whether you are a survivor of abuse. Whether you experienced any sort of trauma in your life, small to large. These episodes can compound on one another.”

The 31-year-old progressive Democrat, who represents New York’s 14th congressional district including a large chunk of the Bronx, had previously said she had feared for her life during the Capitol riot.

The riot followed a Trump rally in Washington in which he called on his supporters to “fight” the result of the election. Millions of his followers still believe his false claim that the election was rigged, despite there being no evidence to support this assertion.

“I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive, and not just in a general sense but also in a very, very specific sense,” she said last month.

On Monday night, her comments went even further, highlighting the way trauma and anguish can linger if not confronted. They came after Mr Trump was impeached by the House for “inciting insurrection”. The former president will next week be tried by the Senate over his speech before the riot.

“If you have experienced any sort of trauma, just the fact of recognising that and admitting it is already a huge step. Especially in a world where people are constantly trying to tell you that you didn’t experience what you experienced, or that you’re lying,” said the congresswoman.

“Those are additional traumas on traumas that you’ve already experienced. There’s the trauma of going through what you went through, and then there’s the trauma afterwards. Of people not believing you, or trying to publicly humiliate you, or trying to embarrass you.”

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