Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern who had an affair with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, has broken her 10-year, self-imposed silence to speak about the liaison that rocked the presidency and made her a household name.
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“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” Lewinsky writes in an essay that will appear in Vanity Fair from May 8. “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
Now, at age 40, Lewinsky says it is time to stop “tiptoeing around my past—and other people’s futures. I am determined to have a different ending to my story. I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past."
Lewinsky maintains that her affair with Clinton was one between two consenting adults and no abuse was involved – though she concedes that “my boss took advantage of me."
The abuse, she says, came afterward, "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. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
That humiliation was accelerated by the Internet, which was just entering the public consciousness in 1995, and, in particular, by Internet aggregator Matthew Drudge. “Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.”
Lewinsky's current 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.”