Monica Lewinsky: I'm the Original Cyber-Bullying Victim!

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In a speech at the 2015 TED Talk in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monica Lewinsky opened up about her past affair with Bill Clinton, and its aftermath.

The same day as Ashley Judd's anti-bullying essay went viral, Lewinsky calls herself "Patient Zero" for what has become systemic online harassment.

"At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss," Lewinsky, 41, said. "At age 24, I learned the devastating consequences... Who didn’t make a mistake at 22?"

It's true, but Monica's was perhaps the most infamous mistake in modern times, as she engaged in an affair with the President of the United States.

Who has made that mistake? Pretty much only her. "Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake, and I regret that mistake deeply," she says.

"In 1998, after having been swept up in an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal, and media maelstrom like we had never seen."

The infamous Starr Report, released online in 1998, detailed the most salacious details and even secret conversations from her affair with Clinton.

"This scandal was brought to you by the digital revolution," Lewinsky told the audience. "It was the first time traditional news was usurped by the Internet.

Monica deemed this "the click that reverberated around the whole world."

She also acknowledged the transgressions that generated said click.

"I admit I made mistakes, especially that beret," she joked. "But the attention and judgment that I received - not the story, but that I personally received - was unprecedented."

"I was branded as a tramp,, slut, whore, and, of course, 'that woman.'"

"I was known by many, but actually known by few," Lewinsky lamented at TED 2015. "I get it. It was easy to forget 'that woman' was dimensional and had a soul."

"In 1998, I lost my reputation and my dignity... I lost my sense of self. When this happened to me, 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now we call it cyber-bullying."

Lewinsky said the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who killed himself when fellow students posted a private video of him with another man, hit home.

Calling Clementi's death "tragic" and "senseless," Lewinsky said:

"It served to recontextualize my personal experiences. I began to look at the world of humiliation and bullying around me and see something different."

"Every day online, people - especially young people who are not developmentally equipped to handle this - are so abused and humiliated that they can’t imagine living to the next day."

Lewinsky referred to and criticized this "culture of humiliation."

"Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop," she pleaded.

"We need to return to a long-held value of compassion and empathy... I’ve seen some very dark days in my life. Compassionate comments help abate negativity."

"It was empathy and compassion from friends, family, coworkers, even strangers that saved me. Empathy from one person can make a difference."

As for why she's finally speaking out more frequently on this matter after years and years of silence? No, not to torpedo Hillary Clinton 2016 ambitions.

"Because it’s time," she said. "Time to stop tiptoeing around my past."

"Time to take back my narrative. Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know one thing: you can survive it. I know it’s hard."

"It may not be painless, quick, or easy," Lewinsky says, and she knows this from experience, "but you can insist on a different ending to your story."

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