In 1998, Monica Lewinsky was the name on everybody’s lips. At the time she was a young 22-year old intern at the White House. Her affair with President Clinton blasted her into the public eye, where she was publicly shamed, humiliated and ostracized for years to come. Now, nearly 20 years later, Lewinsky is finding that the #METOO movement is helping her process her White House experience.
In a personal essay published in Vanity Fair‘s March 2018 issue, Lewinsky shares how she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the scandal, and that her “trauma expedition has been long, arduous, painful, and expensive. And it’s not over.”
However, it seems that the #METOO movement, which continues to gain traction, is helping Lewinsky. Some may scratch their heads at this. After all, the #METOO movement is all about women who speak out against sexual harassment, assault and abuse.
However, what the #METOO movement also grapples with is the abuse of power exercised by men in a largely patriarchal system. And now, placing her experience within the framework of the #METOO narrative is helping Lewinksy see the affair in a whole new light.
In her powerful essay, she explains that thanks to the #METOO movement, she’s now able to “consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern.”
And while she doesn’t deny that the relationship was consensual, she does see that there existed a “gross abuse of power” in the relationship.
What Lewinsky hopes is that “given the two decades that have passed, is that we are now at a stage where we can untangle the complexities and context (maybe even with a little compassion), which might lead to an eventual healing – and a systemic transformation.”