Monica Lewinsky on #MeToo and Why She Doesn't Feel "Alone" Anymore
"Something fundamental changed in our society in 1998, and it is changing again as we enter the second year of the Trump presidency in a post-Cosby-Ailes-O'Reilly-Weinstein-Spacey-Whoever-Is-Next world," she writes for 'Vanity Fair.'
Monica Lewinsky says she no longer feels alone amid the #MeToo movement and Time's Up initiative.
Lewinsky, who famously had a 1998 affair with President Bill Clinton while she was an intern — which eventually led to his impeachment on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice (he was acquitted of all charges following a trial in the Senate) — penned an essay for Vanity Fair in which she reflects on her own scandal and all the allegations of sexual harassment and assault against numerous men in Hollywood that have been rocking the industry for months.
"As I find myself reflecting on what happened, I've also come to understand how my trauma has been, in a way, a microcosm of a larger, national one," she wrote. "Both clinically and observationally, something fundamental changed in our society in 1998, and it is changing again as we enter the second year of the Trump presidency in a post-Cosby-Ailes-O'Reilly-Weinstein-Spacey-Whoever-Is-Next world."
She said she felt very alone in the years since her own scandal, but that has changed since the #MeToo movement began. She's also begun to view her own scandal in a different light.
"Given my PTSD and my understanding of trauma, it's very likely that my thinking would not necessarily be changing at this time had it not been for the #MeToo movement — not only because of the new lens it has provided but also because of how it has offered new avenues toward the safety that comes from solidarity," she wrote.
She recalled a previous essay she'd written for Vanity Fair in which she noted: "Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any 'abuse' came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position."
Now, however, she wrote that she understands "how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station and privilege."
She also noted a recent exchange with a woman who told her: "I'm so sorry you were so alone."
Lewinsky said she had a very emotional response to this: "Somehow, coming from her — a recognition of sorts on a deep, soulful level — they landed in a way that cracked me open and brought me to tears."