"I did not have sexual relations with that woman" is what former President Bill Clinton said in an interview back in 1998 when discussing his extramarital affair with the then 22-year-old intern, Monica Lewinsky.
That infamous line resulted in not only President Clinton being impeached for lying under oath, but propelled young Monica Lewinsky into the public eye.
Monica Lewinsky has stated that the affair she had with the President was a consensual affair. Yet, she also tweeted #MeToo in light of the movement taking root in the country. Many people have said that her experience does not fit with the #MeToo movement and that she should be quiet and move on with her life; they continue shaming her on the internet for an affair that occurred and ended two decades ago.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I also didn't say "Girl, sit down and relax." When I saw that she stated that her affair with the former President "constituted a gross abuse of power" I was confused and a little angry.
What power did the President of the United States have over her? She said it was consensual. She wasn't forced. So, I looked into it. The more I read, the more I saw what she was trying to say.
The "gross abuse of power" was not directly the power that the President had over her, it was the power the administration had.
The administration made her the scapegoat.
They blamed everything on her, shaming her, and humiliating her.
The power did not come from the fact that she was forced to do anything. The relationship was consensual. The power came from the fact that she was merely an intern who fell for the most powerful man on the planet.
But what does this have to do with the #MeToo movement?
Yes, the movement has been built on providing support for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment who have been afraid to come forward. But the movement was also built on reducing the abuse of power that ends up haunting the victim later on in their life.
Monica Lewinsky was not forced or made to do anything. Except live with the fact that everyone in the world would know her as the former President's mistress. It won't matter if she cured cancer or ended world hunger: she's the girl that had that affair.
The administration made that certain. They made the affair public and made her the scapegoat. But it takes two to tango, so shaming her for an affair that was consensual is an abuse of power.
Go ahead and say that she doesn't belong with the rest of the victims of the movement. I'm standing behind her and her tweet of #MeToo. She belongs because she did not ask to be publicly shamed and humiliated.
She made a mistake and regrets it. Every day. She's just realized that the aftermath was not her fault because she is not solely to blame.