Twenty years after her very public affair with former president Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, then 22 now 44, is re-examining the issue of consent.
In a Vanity Fair article published on the 20th anniversary of the Starr investigation, she reflected upon consent concerning her relationship with Clinton in an essay where she wrote she now realizes that her relationship with the President “constituted a gross abuse of power.”
This point of view differs from her 2014 Vanity Fair article where she characterized the relationship by saying,
“Sure my boss took advantage of me, but I will 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.”
Lewinsky credits the #MeToo movement for helping her changed perspective writing the relationship was full of “inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege.”
In the essay Lewinsky wrote that “the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a President and a White House intern, adding, I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot.”
In other words, writing she could not have adequately consented to the relationship due to the vast difference in power their roles possessed.
Lewinsky claims the fallout from the scandal left her with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that she may have never changed her point of view on the subject if it weren’t for the #MeToo movement and society’s re-evaluation of sexual misconduct issues.
Lewinsky also took the time to commend the women of the #MeToo movement by writing,
“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the #MeToo and Time’s Up heroines; they are speaking volumes against the pernicious conspiracies of silence that have long protected powerful men when it comes to sexual assault, sexual harassment and abuse of power.”
Hillary nor Bill Clinton have commented on the article at this time.
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