Prominent US lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault, in an emotional video message Monday in which she also described fearing for her life during the deadly storming of the US Capitol on January 6.
The New York congresswoman drew parallels between the lawmakers seeking to "move on" from the Capitol riot and the denial tactics used by abusers.
"They're trying to tell us to move on without any accountability, without any truth-telling, or without confronting the extreme damage, loss of life, trauma," she said during her Instagram Live, as she accused Republicans of encouraging violence in the lead-up to the riot.
"I'm a survivor of sexual assault and I haven't told many people that in my life," she told her followers.
"As a survivor, I struggle with the idea of being believed."
She gave no further details about the assault, or when it took place.
Ocasio-Cortez -- one of the most prominent progressive politicians in the US and known widely as "AOC" -- also recounted the terror she felt during last month's assault on the US legislature.
"I thought I was going to die," she said, describing how she and a staffer were forced to take shelter in a bathroom in her congressional office.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez's online remarks -- viewed more than 350,000 times -- drew widespread praise for bravery and honesty.
Fellow lawmaker Katie Porter took to MSNBC to say that she had provided Ocasio-Cortez with a pair of sneakers during the riot, in case she needed to "run for her life".
"I just hope I get to be a mom. I hope I don't die today," Porter recounted Ocasio-Cortez as having told her.
Ocasio-Cortez responded curtly on Twitter to Republican Senator Ted Cruz after he publicly sided with her criticism of stock market trading app Robinhood last week.
"I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there's common ground, but you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out," the congresswoman told Cruz.
Cruz was among the conservative Senate Republicans who challenged the US presidential election results during a process that historically had been ceremonial.
"Happy to work with almost any other [Republicans] that aren't trying to get me killed," Ocasio-Cortez added.
Washington, United States | AFP