“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Even if you weren’t alive in 1998, it’s likely you have some recollection of the infamous statement by Bill Clinton – though perhaps you’re not exactly clear on the context surrounding it.
Monica Lewinsky certainly is. She’s ‘that woman’, and twenty years ago, the context was her life. Her traumatic experiences during that time haunted her for many years to come.
Now, no longer the 22-year-old intern whose sexual relationship with her boss was known by the nation, Lewinsky has looked back at that moment in history with a different lens. In her essay for March’s issue of Vanity Fair, the 44-year-old examines how the #MeToo movement has changed the way she and others view the best-remembered affair in American history.
It’s this statement that has been burned into our collective consciousness. Post continues.
Lewinsky said the days when she was being harassed by the FBI, the media and the public were incredibly “isolating.”
“Yes, I had received many letters of support in 1998. And, yes (thank God!), I had my family and friends to support me. But by and large, I had been alone. So. Very. Alone,” she wrote. “Publicly alone — abandoned most of all by the key figure in the crisis, who actually knew me well and intimately.”
The Master of Science graduate said she didn’t think she would have felt so isolated if the events had unfolded today in amongst the #MeToo movement.
“One of the most inspiring aspects of this newly energised movement is the sheer number of women who have spoken up in support of one another,” she said.
“Virtually anyone can share her or his #MeToo story and be instantly welcomed into a tribe.”
The anti-bully advocate said she also believes the way the world reacted to her part in the near-Presidential-term-ending scandal would have been different. Even her own view of the circumstances have changed, as recent as in the past year.
With all the allegations against him, Mia Freedman and Amelia Lester discuss why Bill Clinton still gets a ‘pass’ in the post-Weinstein era. Post continues.
“For two decades, I have been working on myself, my trauma, and my healing. And, naturally, I have grappled with the rest of the world’s interpretations and Bill Clinton’s re-interpretations of what happened.
“Just four years ago, in an essay for this magazine, I wrote the following: ‘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’.