Watch: Monica Lewinsky speaks out against ‘public humiliation’ over suicide of gay teen
Monica Lewinsky has spoken about the suicide of a gay teen – and the public humiliation she herself suffered following her affair with Bill Clinton.
Lewinsky became a household name in 1998 when news of her sexual activity with then-President Clinton emerged – and she maintained a long-held silence on the issue until finally speaking out last year.
The former White House intern this week addressed the TED2015 conference – partly speaking out about how the 2010 suicide of gay teen Tyler Clementi helped shape her perspective.
She said: “Tyler’s tragic, senseless death was a turning point for me.
“It served to re-contextualize my experiences. I began to look at the world of humiliation and bullying around me and see something different.
“The internet has connected people in unimaginable ways… but the darkness, cyber-bullying and slut-shaming I experienced has mushroomed.
“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.
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“Some, tragically don’t.
“In this culture of humiliation, there is another kind of price tag attached to this kind of public shaming.
“The price does not measure the cost to the victim, which Tyler and many others – notably women, minorities and members of the LGBT community have paid – but the price measures the profit of those who prey on them.”
She continued: “Changing behaviour begins with evolving beliefs.
“We’ve seen that to be true with racism, homophobia, and plenty of other biases today and in the past.
“As we’ve changed beliefs about same-sex marriage, more people have been offered equal freedoms.
“What we need is a cultural revolution. Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop. We need to return to a long-held value of compassion and empathy.
“Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know one thing: you can survive it.”