Monica Lewinsky Uses Her Past to Help Bullied Kids

Monica Lewinsky knows a thing or two about bullying. When she was an intern for the White House in the '90s, the then-22-year-old was crucified by the press for making a mistake and having a sexual relationship with former president Bill Clinton. You could argue Clinton didn't suffer nearly the same shame and was able to move ahead in life with a bit more ease.

Well, Monica is holding her head up high and using her negative experiences and what she learned from them to fight for children who are bullied and cyberbullied. While speaking at Forbes' 30 Under 30 summit, she said she wants to put her "suffering to good use" and "give purpose" to her past.

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You've got to hand it to Monica: she managed to keep silent all of these years about her affair with the prez even though she could have made a gazillion dollars offering up tidbits about her past. But now, at age 41, Monica says she wants to take back her past and give the story everyone knows so darn well a different ending.

Inspired by the sad story of Tyler Clementi -- the 18-year-old student from Rutgers University who killed himself in 2010 after secretly taped footage of him kissing another man went viral -- Monica remembered how her own mother refused to leave her side after the scandal because she feared she would commit suicide. This, mind you, was before Facebook.

How absolutely frightening and horrific. Monica felt like it was her responsibility to share her past and give it purpose by getting involved in efforts to help young people who have been humiliated online. She also took a huge, courageous step forward by joining Twitter on the same day as her speech.

Even as a young teen, I never understood why Monica became a scapegoat when this was clearly a case of sex between two consenting adults. It's not like she was the one cheating on her spouse or lying to the same public that made it possible for her to have a job. But okay, let's put the past behind us and move on -- because Monica clearly has. I commend her for using her strength -- and she obviously has strength because she suffered and came out from it -- to help young folks who also do not deserve to be shamed by others.

What do you think about Monica's decision to speak out against bullying and cyberbullying?

 

Image via Peter Kramer/Getty Images

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