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Monica Lewinsky: Public shaming was “an avalanche of pain and humiliation”

March 18, 2019 - 1:55 pm
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After famously becoming the butt of jokes over the Bill Clinton sex scandal 20 years ago, Monica Lewinsky is speaking out about the brutal toll the bullying took on her & how she managed to come out the other side stronger.

“It was an avalanche of pain and humiliation,” she told John Oliver on Last Week Tonight.  “At 24 years old, it was really hard to hold onto a shred of dignity or self-esteem when you’re the butt of so many jokes and being so misunderstood.”

As one would imagine, the incessant ridicule and dissection of her looks did a number on her confidence.

“Part of my vanity now comes from the wound of having been made fun of for my weight, for people saying I was unattractive,” she said.

The situation continued so long, that she found herself unable to find work, even after obtaining a graduate degree. And while she was encouraged to change her last name, Lewinsky refused.

“It was a principle. Bill Clinton didn’t have to change his name. Nobody’s ever asked him, did he think he should change his name. I think that was an important statement. I’m not proud of all the choices I made in my life. But I’m proud of the person I am. I’m not ashamed of who I am,” the 45-year-old added.  “I’m glad I didn’t change it.’

Having survived the ordeal, Lewinsky ended by offering inspiring advice to anyone being humiliated or bullied at school or online.

“You can get through it. You can move past it. I know it feels like in this one moment that your life will forever by defined by this, but it won’t. It may be hard. It may take more time than you ever could have imagined, but you can move past this.”