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miércoles, 28 de febrero de 2018

Monica Lewinsky says Bill Clinton abused his power with their relationship

With the passage of time comes wisdom and clarity, and the young and impressionable intern who was once at the center of an explosive political scandal now views her role in an adulterous affair with an entirely new perspective. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, 44-year-old Monica Lewinsky now believes that her affair with former President Bill Clinton began because of “a gross abuse of power.”

As she reconsiders the “power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern,” Lewinsky writes in a new essay for Vanity Fair that while it’s “complicated,” she’s beginning to think that “in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot.”

Sexual power dynamics

Unfortunately, Lewinsky can now look to the numerous examples of women who — like her — were seduced by a powerful man and compelled to tolerate sexual harassment that they might otherwise believe to be criminal.

After media mogul Harvey Weinstein was exposed as a sexual predator for using his wealth and influence in the entertainment industry to sexually harass and assault women, a long list of justice-seeking victims came forward to out their tormentors.

Almost without exception, the perpetrators of these crimes shared one inescapable characteristic: they took advantage of the transparently unequal power dynamics in their relationships with women to extract sexual favors and elicit silence from their victims. As Lewinsky described Clinton:

He was my boss. 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.

Sufficient time has passed for Lewinsky, who was just 22 when she began her affair with President Clinton, to consider her traumatic experience from an external vantage point.

Approaching the 20th anniversary of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation of her affair with the president, Lewinsky shared her emotional evolution:

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.

The former intern credits her recent epiphany to the countless other women who were forced to persevere in the face of similar tragedies. Lewinsky was sure to credit these women:

I am in awe of the sheer courage of the women who have stood up and begun to confront entrenched beliefs and institutions.

#MeToo Matron

Lewinsky believes that “something fundamentally changed in our society in 1998,” following her experience, and she feels like “it is changing again as we enter in the second year of the Trump presidency.” However, she is careful to distinguish her own situation from women who lacked the same options — however artificial —  as she had 20 years ago, or the ability to say “no” to her seducer.

“There are many more women and men whose voices and stories need to be heard before mine,” Lewinsky wrote. She explained:

There are even some people who feel my White House experiences don’t have a place in this movement, as what transpired between Bill Clinton and myself was not sexual assault, although we now recognize that it constituted a gross abuse of power.

At just 22-years-old, Lewinsky was hardly equipped to rebuff the sexual advances of the leader of the free world. Enchanted by his power, Lewinsky was willing to do Clinton’s sexual bidding and lacked the willpower to push aside his advances.

Not only did she have to contend with the trauma of what many would consider sexual assault, but Lewinsky also had to endure a salacious mainstream media who portrayed the young and powerless intern as a sexually indiscriminate harlot who not only broke a home but did irreversible damage to the Democratic Party.

Today, Lewinsky suffers from post-traumatic stress as a result of her ordeal. It is difficult to determine what was more unbearable — her treatment at the hands of a presidential hustler, or her treatment at the hands of a vindictive mainstream press.