• Clodagh Meaney

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gives powerful speech following sexist remarks from Republican politician

The 30-year-old is the youngest Democrat in Congress.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has given a powerful speech in Congress following sexist harassment from a Republican law maker.

Earlier this week, the New York Democrat was accosted on the steps of Capitol Hill by Ted Yoho, who harassed her, by calling her "disgusting" and "crazy"

Ocasio-Cortez was entering Congress to vote when the Florida Congress representative approached her, in relation to recent comments that she had made in relation to the link between poverty and crime.

The 30-year-old, who is the youngest Democrat in congress, told Yoho he was being "rude."

A journalist overheard the incident, and reported that as he walked away, Ted Yoho called the New Yorker a "fucking bitch."

She later took to Twitter, where she retweeted the article with the comment: "But hey, bitches get stuff done."

Yesterday, taking to the floor in Congress, Ocasio-Cortez gave an empowered speech about the power that allows harassment towards women acceptable and something that goes unpunished.

"I was minding my own business, walking up the steps, and Representative Yoho put his finger in my face. He called me ‘disgusting.’ He called me ‘crazy.’ He called me ‘out of my mind.’ And he called me ‘dangerous'." she said, recounting the incident.

"In front of reporters, he called me, and a quote, 'a fucking bitch.'

The young Democrat spoke about being used to male harassment from growing up in the Bronx, and working as a waitress.

"I want to be clear that representative Yoho's comments were not deeply hurtful or piercing to me, because I have worked a working-class job."

"I have waited tables and I have ridden the subway. I have walked the streets in New York City. And this kind of language is not new."

"I have encountered words uttered by Mr Yoho and men uttering the same words as Mr Yoho while I was being harassed in restaurants. I have tossed men out of bars that have used language like Mr Yoho's."

"This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting violence and violent language against women and an entire structure of power that supports that," she said.

"The President of The United States, last year, told me to 'go home', to another country, it's the implication that I don't even belong in America."

"Dehumanising language is not new... what we're seeing is a pattern of an attitude towards women, and the dehumanisation of others."

Ted Yoho had addressed the floor of the House of Representatives the previous day about the incident, in which he cited having a wife and daughters; an apparent way to excuse his behaviour as unintentional.

"I could not allow my nieces, I could not allow the little girls that I go home to, I could not allow victims of verbal abuse, and worse, to see that," Ocasio-Cortez continued.

"To see that excuse, and see our Congress accept it as legitimate and accept it as an apology and to accept silence as a form of acceptance. I could not allow that to stand."

Alexandria said that having a wife and daughter does not make a man decent.

"I am two years younger than Mr Yoho's youngest daughter. I am someone's daughter too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr Yoho treated his daughter."

"I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men," she continued.

"When you do that to any woman, what Mr Yoho did was give permission to other men to do that to his daughters," she said.

"In using that language, in front of the press, he gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and I am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable."

© 2020 by EMPWR

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