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CNN Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is opening up about the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, revealing that she worried about what the rioters would do to her if they made it to her office.
In an interview featured in her episode of the new CNN series Being… the congresswoman, 31, told reporter Dana Bash, "I didn't think that I was just going to be killed," adding, "I thought other things were going to happen to me as well."
Asked if she feared she was going to be sexually assaulted, the New York lawmaker told Bash, "Yeah, yeah. I thought I was."
Ocasio-Cortez, who was barricaded in her office at the time of the Capitol attack, said that her past experience as a survivor of sexual assault kicked in that day she spent in hiding.
"I didn't think that I was just going to be killed," @AOC tells Dana Bash about the insurrection. She feared she'd be raped.@DanaBashCNN is the host of a great new CNN series called "Being." The first episode "Being... AOC" airs tonight @ 9pmET. pic.twitter.com/631ZzNyg6Z
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) August 9, 2021
"Survivors have a very strong set of skills. And the skills that are required as a survivor, the tools that you build for resilience, they come back in right away," she told Bash in a June interview in her district. "And for me, I felt like those skills were coming right back so that I could survive."
The attack on the Capitol was "animated" by "misogyny" and "racism," she explained. "White supremacy and patriarchy are very linked in a lot of ways … There's a lot of sexualizing of that violence," Ocasio-Cortez added.
Ocasio-Cortez has previously shared harrowing details from Jan. 6, when a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election results. Not long after the attack, the lawmaker described the events of the day as "incredibly violent" and "traumatizing," revealing that she thought she "was going to die."
"You have all of those thoughts where, at the end of your life, and all of these thoughts come rushing to you. And that's what happened to a lot of us on Wednesday," Ocasio-Cortez shared on Instagram Live a week after the insurrection. "I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive."
Recounting the day, Ocasio-Cortez said she heard banging on her office door Jan. 6, describing the noise to her followers as, "like someone was trying to break the door down."
After first hiding in her bathroom, the congresswoman planned to move to her closet, but went back into hiding when she heard someone yelling, "Where is she?" While she initially thought the person yelling was an intruder, her staffer explained it was a Capitol Police officer.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
"There's no way that a person in that situation would have even thought that that was law enforcement," Ocasio-Cortez told CNN. "That's not how we're kind of trained into thinking."
Since the attack on the Capitol, Ocasio-Cortez has said she's sought therapy to help process the events of Jan. 6.
"You have this transition period of escalating violence, which really culminated on the 6th, for which was an extraordinarily traumatizing event that's not really being discussed," she told the Latino USA podcast in May.
She added, "After the 6th, I took some time and it was really [Rep.] Ayanna Pressley when I explained to her what happened to me, like the day of, because I ran to her office. And she was like, 'You need to recognize trauma. And this is something that you went through, but we're all going through. And it's really important to pause after that, because that's how you process it.' "
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.