Monica Lewinsky Brands Bill Clinton Affair A Gross Abuse of Power
Monica Lewinsky has said her relationship with former President Bill Clinton constituted a “gross abuse of power” on his part.
The former White House intern was 22 when she became romantically involved with the then president, who was 27 years her senior.
Monica Lewinsky has written an article for Vanity Fair magazine, reflecting on events after the #MeToo movement.
She also revealed that she was diagnosed with PTSD after the scandal.
The condition was caused by being “publicly outed and ostracized” as the affair unraveled in the press and courts, Monica Lewinsky says.
News of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton’s relationship dominated the US news agenda in 1998 and 1999, after the president initially denied it before admitting to “inappropriate intimate physical contact” with the former White House intern.
House Republicans then started impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, arguing he had lied to federal investigators. That effort eventually failed, and Bill Clinton remained in power until 2001.
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Monica Lewinsky, now 44, says she stands by her 2014 comments that their relationship was consensual, but muses about the “vast power differentials” that existed between the two.
She says she had “limited understanding of the consequences” at the time, and regrets the affair daily.
The former White House intern wrote: “The dictionary definition of “consent”? To give permission for something to happen.”
“And yet what did the ‘something’ mean in this instance, given the power dynamics, his position, and my age?…He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better.”
In the Vanity Fair essay, Monica Lewinsky also discusses the growing movement of women publicly speaking out against harassment and assault.