Lewinsky 2014

by baldilocks

Ten years ago, after Monica Lewinsky responded publicly to former President William Clinton’s characterization of their affair, I wrote her an open letter. Excerpt:

1)      Go to graduate school. Become a nurse, or a scientist, or an architect. Do NOT become a lawyer, a journalist or a politician. Do NOT go into show business, unless you’re going to be a producer or part of the crew.

2)      Immerse yourself in your Jewish heritage/religion. Or some other religion.

3)      Get involved in some little-publicized charity work.

4)      Stay out of the public eye as much as possible. Change your name, if you see fit. But whatever happens, refuse to give any interviews on anything regarding former President Clinton and the scandal created by the two of you.

Why should you do these things? By immersing yourself in, taking care of, building or studying something for you, you can carve out a new reputation for yourself, instead of being constantly saddled with the old one. Accomplish something. Make a difference, a positive one.

I don’t know whether she knows that this letter exists, but it seems that she took much of my advice. Turning down multi-million dollar offers–presumably, to tell her story–she moved to London and earned a Master’s degree in psychology at the London School of Economics. And, she kept silent about her part in the indiscretion—until now.Lewinsky

Unfortunately and predictably, many employers were unable to see past her infamous past. But Lewinsky takes responsibility for her choices and seems much more mindful of the consequences of her actions in her mature years—as all thinking persons become.. Additionally, she is conscious of the fact that she may further suffer for her new openness about the topic.

I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)

As opposed to the last time Lewinsky spoke out, her timing is right. I hope she expounds on the professional and personal costs that she has paid for a singular reason: other young women need to read these things. To stand voluntarily as a warning to others is an admirable thing to do. And, as was so the last time she spoke out, I wish Ms. Lewinsky all the best.

(Thanks to Legal Insurrection)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in baldilocks2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!