Monica Lewinsky just might hold the record for most publicly ridiculed woman on the planet. And because her name is often synonymous with a huge national scandal, it can be easy to forget that she was a mere 21-years-old when that scandal unfolded. Basically, young enough to make a big mistake and not completely understand the consequences.
In a 2014 piece for Vanity Fair, Lewinsky opened up about what it means to have a very private part of your life play out in public.
“In 1998, when news of my affair with Bill Clinton broke, I was arguably the most humiliated person in the world. Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,” she wrote.
She went on to write, “I know I’m not alone when it comes to public humiliation. No one, it seems, can escape the unforgiving gaze of the Internet, where gossip, half-truths, and lies take root and fester. We have created, to borrow a term from historian Nicolaus Mills, a ‘culture of humiliation’ that not only encourages and revels in Schadenfreude but also rewards those who humiliate others.”
And this is exactly why Lewinsky has made it her mission to do something about bullying and the havoc it wreaks on young lives.
She’s a member of the anti-bullying group Bystander Revolution, and most recently, she Tweeted this after reading the tragic story of 13-year-old Daniel Fitzpatrick, who took his own life after being subjected to severe school bullying.
No matter what your feelings are about Lewinsky’s past, it’s pretty indisputable that she’s currently working towards making the world a better place. And as long as there continue to be tragic stories out there like Daniel’s, it’s desperately needed.