Monica Lewinsky was 'suicidal' after Clinton affair

Writing in Vanity Fair, the White House's most famous intern now says she wants to use her experience as a victim of public shaming to help others.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   May 6, 2014 at 1:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- It's been nearly 20 years since an affair began between a White House intern and the president of the United States.

Although she's mostly stayed away from the spotlight for the past decade, Monica Lewinsky has penned a column for this month's Vanity Fair. Writing that it's time to stop "tiptoeing around my past," Lewinsky says she wants to take control over her life's narrative after losing it to the publicity surrounding her affair with President Bill Clinton.

But, with a nod to the affair's effect on "other people's futures," Lewinsky is undoubtedly speaking to the heightened interest around Hillary Clinton.

The former first lady's name doesn't come up in the excerpts provided by Vanity Fair ahead of the article's publication. Instead, Lewinksy focuses on clearing the air and leveraging her experience into positive change.

“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship," she writes. "Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position."

"The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me."

Lewinsky says the frenzy around the scandal made it impossible for her to move on with her life, even considering suicide. And the case of Tyler Clementi -- an 18-year-old student at Rutgers who committed suicide after his roommate streamed video of him kissing another man -- brought back memories of her own humiliation.

That experience, she said, is why she's putting her energy toward helping other people who are subject to intense public shaming.

"I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,” she said. Now, her goal is "to get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”

Lewinsky's full essay will be available to digital subscribers online on May 8, and on newsstands May 13.

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