Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC)’s outrage over a Republican lawmaker’s verbal assault has garnered attention far and wide. AOC’s take on the sexist culture of “accepting violence and violent language against women” made noise across the world and people lauded her for standing up against this.
Among those who appreciated AOC and her words was Mehwish Hayat, who is often at the receiving end of sexist trolling and hate for her unfiltered take on various topics.
“Thank you AOC for saying this out loud,” wrote Mehwish on Twitter. “I cried – and can so relate to what you say. For me as an actress, men passing remarks and using abusive language is the norm. There’s a pattern here and it is becoming a cultural thing.”
She continued, “We mustn’t give any man permission to be abusive. Today I stand up and say, ‘I, too am someone’s daughter and I haven’t been raised to accept abuse from anyone!'”
According to reports, Ocasio-Cortez’s speech was in response to Republican congressman Ted Yoho calling her “disgusting” on a staircase in the Capitol last Tuesday for her comments linking poverty and crime. As she left, Yoho allegedly said, ‘”f***** b****.”
In an apology delivered on the House floor the next morning, Yoho denied saying those words to AOC.
“Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language,” he had said. “The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues and if they were construed that way, I apologise for their misunderstanding.”
However, AOC dismissed Yoho’s apology, saying that the congressman was “refusing responsibility”.
In the speech that went viral on social media, AOC said: “About two days ago I was walking up the steps of the Capitol when Representative Yoho suddenly turned a corner, and he was accompanied by Representative Roger Williams. And accosted me on the steps right here in front of our nation’s capitol.”
“I was my minding my own business, walking up the steps when 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 continued, “I walked back out and there were reporters in the front of the Capitol, and in front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote, a f—— b—-. These are the words Representative Yoho levied against a congresswoman. A congresswoman that not only represents New York’s 14th district but every congresswoman in this country because all of us have had to deal with this in some form, some way, some shape at some point in our lives.”
“Mr Yoho was not alone. He was walking shoulder to shoulder with Representative Roger Williams. And that’s when we start to see that this issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of a lack of impunity, of acceptance of violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that.”
She adds: “But then yesterday, Representative Yoho decided to come to the floor of the House of Representatives and make excuses for his behaviour. And that I could not let go. Which is why I’m rising today to raise this point of personal privilege.”
“I do not need representative Yoho to apologise to me. Clearly, he does not want to. Clearly, when given the opportunity he will not. And I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women. But what I do have an issue with is using women, wives, and daughters as shields and excuses for poor behaviour.”
“Mr Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. 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. My mother got to see Mr Yoho’s disrespect on the floor of this house towards me on television, and 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,” AOC further said.
“And so, what I believe is that having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. And when a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologise. Not to save face, not to win a vote.”
AOC’s speech made waves across the world and resonated with millions of women who suffer abuse – verbal and physical – at the hands of men.
Meanwhile, Mehwish also hit back at trolls who criticised her for her recent picture.