Monica Lewinsky: Clinton affair was a ‘gross abuse of power’

Former White House intern also praises the #MeToo movement in ‘Vanity Fair’ article

File image of Monica Lewinsky in Cannes, southern France. File photograph: AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

File image of Monica Lewinsky in Cannes, southern France. File photograph: AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

 

Monica Lewinsky has said the affair that led to impeachment proceedings against former US president Bill Clinton was not sexual assault, but “constituted a gross abuse of power”.

In a new article in Vanity Fair, Ms Lewinsky writes that she is “in awe of the sheer courage” of women who’ve been confronting “entrenched beliefs and institutions” in recent months.

She said she was recently moved to tears when a leader of the #MeToo movement told her: “I’m so sorry you were so alone.”

The former White House intern lauded the #MeToo movement for providing “the safety that comes from solidarity”.

Ms Lewinsky said she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress from being “publicly outed and ostracised”.

Mr Clinton initially denied the affair before admitting to it in 1998. The Democrat was acquitted by the US senate.

Ms Lewinsky wrote: “There are many more women and men whose voices and stories need to be heard before mine. There are even some people who feel my White House experiences don’t have a place in this movement, as what transpired between Bill Clinton and myself was not sexual assault, although we now recognise that it constituted a gross abuse of power.

“Now, at 44, I’m beginning to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern.

“I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot. Although power imbalances — and the ability to abuse them — do exist even when the sex has been consensual.”

She added of Mr Clinton: “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. He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career, while I was in my first job out of college.”

Ms Lewinsky added that “none of the above excuses me for my responsibility for what happened. I meet Regret every day”. – AP