Thanks to the #MeToo movement, Monica Lewinsky’s history with President Bill Clinton is back in the spotlight. Lewinsky was just 22 years old when she worked as an unpaid White House intern for White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta in summer 1995. And her relationship with the then-49-year-old president of the United States took place between ’95 and ’97.
According to the Washington Post, she moved into a paid job at the White House office of legislative affairs and also began a sexual relationship with Clinton in November 1995. Now, more than 20 years later, Lewinsky is able to reflect on the “gross abuse of power” in the sexual encounters, as Clinton was her boss and 27 years her senior.
In a powerful new essay for Vanity Fair, Lewinsky (now 44) wrote that she is now beginning to “consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern.”
“Until recently (thank you, Harvey Weinstein), historians hadn’t really had the perspective to fully process and acknowledge that year of shame and spectacle,” she wrote.
Monica Lewinsky’s #MeToo story happened decades before the movement, and at the time she said it was consensual. “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege,” she wrote.
“I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot,” Lewinsky added. “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.”
VIDEO: Monica Lewinsky on How the #MeToo Movement Has Redefined the Clinton Scandal
Nowadays, the 44-year-old focuses on bullying prevention. She has never married, nor does she have kids. “I keep my personal life private,” she told People in 2015. “I think people have known enough about my romantic life for a lifetime.”