Monica Lewinsky Gives Her First Public Speech In 16 Years And Says Exactly What Needs To Be Said

So yeah, that's what guts looks like. And pro-tip: bullying, shaming and blaming the victim? Always wrong.

Monica was compelled to break her long silence because of her work with the Tyler Clementi Foundation. Please give them a look. They do absolutely wonderful work. Same with The Trevor Project. Also The BULLY Project. Also StopBullying.gov.


The reason Monica was able to survive two years of constant emotional assault was the rock-solid support from her family and friends. But there are many out there who don't have that, and they need help right now.


UPDATE: Since this piece was posted on Facebook, I've seen a number of ... let's say "misguided" comments about Lewinsky's motives and past actions. The comments are, for the most part, all basically the same. So here it is, folks:

THE OFFICIAL MONICA LEWINSKY FAQ — LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT


1. Monica Lewinsky? That’s so '90s. Why should I care?

Because she's a human being with feelings who was silenced and shamed for years and is finally speaking out about what she went through. There's a lot we can learn from her.


2. Monica Lewinsky?! Hahahaha. Cigars! Blue dress! Hahahaha!

Nope. Not clever. Try again. Actually, please don’t try again.


3. So I just watched the video and um, no. She wasn’t bullied.

You're right. "Bullying" is a completely insufficient word to describe the aggressive smear campaign of slut shaming, victim blaming, fat shaming, sexual harassment, and general reputation destruction she endured from the likes of The Drudge Report. And The New York Post, who labeled her “The Portly Pepperpot.” And Jay Leno, who made fun of her basically every night. And Maureen Dowd, who called her “ditsy” and “tubby.” And Congress. And Ken Starr. And your uncle at Thanksgiving. And, you know, like everyone on Earth for two years straight. So yeah, definitely way more than bullying.


4. But she brought it on herself! She didn’t have to have an affair with Bill Clinton! She made that choice.

Monica Lewinsky was a 22-year-old intern. Bill Clinton was the president of the United States of America. In addition to being the most powerful man in the world, he was also her boss. That’s the craziest, most effed-up power differential possible. Here's a good example of how and why such advances from a employer on a subordinate can be so poisonous. And here's a good example of how otherwise intelligent people still so often do not get it.


5. But I love Bill Clinton! I have such a crush on him.

That’s OK. You still can. Sometimes people we like do messed-up things, and that’s life.


6. But I’m mad at her because he’s so great, and she makes me doubt that!

Don’t be mad at her. It’s not her fault. Please see above.


7. But she cheated! She’s a cheater.

Well, you’re half-right. He cheated, and he’s a cheater. She was single. So, actually, come to think of it, you’re none right.


8. But what does any of this have to do with anything now? This all happened so long ago.

It still matters as long as powerful people are having relationships with their subordinates and all we can focus on is how it’s really the subordinates' fault, despite the fact that they’re in a place of no power. Which definitely didn’t stop with Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.


9. But, but, but, I still have all this undifferentiated anger and NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!

There there. It’s going to be OK.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

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