By Lori Perkins
As we prepare for the second impeachment trail of former President Donald J. Trump whom the House impeachment managers have called “singularly responsible” for the January 6th Capitol riot, N.Y. Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Ortez released a live video stream where she recounted her fear for her life during the ordeal.
Sometimes tearful, and obviously still reeling from the memories, AOC told of how she had to hide in her office when she heard angry voices outside demanding “where is she?” She went into the bathroom, and hid behind a door, when one of the mob stood on the other side demanding her location. "Then I just start to hear these yells of, 'Where is she? Where is she?'" Ocasio-Cortez said. "This was the moment where I thought everything was over."
She recalled that at that moment she believed that she might be killed, saying to herself, "if this was the journey that my life was taking, that I felt that things were going to be OK," Wiping tears from her eyes, she added, "I had fulfilled my purpose."
Meanwhile, the panic button in her office, and other members of Congress, has been disconnected, according to multiple news reports.
A member of the Capitol Police ordered her to leave her office and she and a staff member hurried to another building, which was eerily empty. She was lucky enough to recognize Rep. Katie Porter’s office, and rushed in asking if she could shelter with her. Porter was unaware of the trauma AOC was escaping and mentioned that she had made coffee, while Ocasio-Ortez took the room apart looking for places to hide.
On MSNBC’s Last Word, Porter told Lawrence O’Donnell that she told AOC, 'Well, don't worry. I'm a mom. I'm calm. I've got everything here we need. We could live here for like a month in this office.' And she said, 'I just hope I get to be a mom. I hope I don't die today,'" Porter said.
Porter, AOC, an aide and another Congressional staffer hid in the dark without making a sound for six hours.
Ocasio-Ortez later explained that this experience had triggered her back to an earlier experience of sexual assault, which she had not told many people about, and she realized that she was now experiencing PTSD from the Capitol riot.
“I'm a survivor of sexual assault, and I haven't told many people that in my life," she said in the nearly hour-long video. "But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other.”
She explained that the reason she was sharing her story now was that the Republican calls for “unity” and “moving on” don’t understand the depth of the assault on both the individual, and the nation as a whole. "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.