Photo: Courtesy of Vanity Fair.
In an effort to distance herself from a scandal that broke more than 15 years ago, Monica Lewinsky is trying an interesting tactic. She's writing about it in Vanity Fair.
"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," she writes in the new issue, which the magazine teased Tuesday. "It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress."
Most significantly, Lewinsky, now 40, is emphatic that there was nothing forced about her affair with President Bill Clinton. "Sure, my boss took advantage of me," she writes, "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.... 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."
Addressing the February report that Hillary Clinton has privately called her "a narcissistic loony toon," Lewinsky writes, "If that's the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky. Mrs. Clinton, I read, had supposedly confided to [close friend Diane] Blair that, in part, she blamed herself for her husband's affair (by being emotionally neglectful) and seemed to forgive him. Although she regarded Bill as having engaged in 'gross inappropriate behavior,' the affair was, nonetheless, 'consensual (was not a power relationship).'"
So, why did Lewinsky decide to come forward now? To show support for other victims. She references the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after discovering that his roommate had secretly filmed him during a sexual encounter with another man. She writes that, after his death, "my own suffering took on a different meaning. Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation." To that end, Lewinsky notes that she wants to help "victims of online humiliation and harassment."