Monica Lewinsky spoke from the TED stage in Vancouver recently to tell the audience, “At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss. At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.”
In her speech, entitled “The Price of Shame”, Lewinsky recounts how she was betrayed by her friend Linda Tripp, was threatened with jail time and was swept up in the maelstrom of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Throughout the national disgrace of Clinton’s unchecked libido, Lewinsky was the target of slut-shaming.
She withdrew from public view for more than a decade, but has reemerged to tell her story. I listened to her 22-minute speech and found it compelling and moving. The temptress is resigned to her mistakes, but forcefully speaks to the viciousness of cyberbullying and makes a plausible argument that she was the first true victim of the phenomenon of “cultural humiliation”.
I think when President Clinton referred to her as “that woman”, he wounded her forever. Many believe she is speaking out now to cripple the political future of the Clinton dynasty, but Lewinsky defended herself saying, “It is time to stop tip-toeing around my past.”
For now, at least, I believe her because no one would wish to “walk a mile in someone else’s headline.”