What my friendship with Monica Lewinsky taught me about #MeToo

Since getting to know Monica, I’ve been struck by the contrast between what I saw on the news and how I know her now. On a personal level, she is one of the most generous, forgiving and hopeful people I’ve ever met. She is also a very funny woman, sometimes even a goofball. These qualities are all the more impressive because of what she went through as a young woman. Before Monica was 30 years old, she was tormented, chased by reporters and paparazzi, and mocked by national tabloids and radio hosts as fat, crazy or obsessed with the president. Clinton himself has gone on to be a millionaire celebrated for his progressive and productive post-presidency, yet all these years later he cannot answer the simple question of whether he ever apologized directly to Monica or her family. (I’ve never asked directly, but Monica has never mentioned such an apology to me.)

When we go for a walk or see a movie, she’s just Monica. But occasionally, someone will turn their head and do a double take and I know it’s not because they recognize me. When I told my mom one day that I’d been hanging out with Monica, one of the first things she said was, “She was just a baby. She was your age.”

It is this, I think, that has helped me reach the final stage in my #MeToo evolution: my full understanding of Monica’s humanity. This understanding has been so pivotal for me because it has forced me to see just how much I didn’t think of her as a human back in the 1990s.