MONICA LEWINSKY WAS sitting in a Manhattan auditorium several weeks ago watching teenage girls perform a play called Slut. She was wiping away tears.
In the scene, a young woman was seated in an interrogation room. She had been asked to describe, repeatedly, what had happened on the night in question — when, she said, a group of guy friends had pinned her down in a taxi on the way to a party and sexually assaulted her. She had reported them. Now everyone at school knew; everyone had chosen a side. "My life has just completely fallen apart," the girl said, her voice shaking. "Now I'm that girl."
The play concluded, and Lewinsky fumbled through her purse for a tissue. A woman came and whisked her to the stage.
"Hi, I'm Monica Lewinsky," she said, visibly nervous. "Some of you younger people might only know me from some rap lyrics."
The crowd, made up largely of high school and college women, laughed. "Monica Lewinsky" is the title of a song by rapper G-Eazy; her name is a reference in dozens of others: by Kanye, Beyoncé, Eminem.
"Thank you for coming," Lewinsky said, "and in doing so, standing up against the sexual scapegoating of women and girls."
Asked later about the play, Lewinsky said, "It's really inspiring to hear people bring awareness to this issue. That scene in the interrogation room was hard to watch. One thing I've learned about trauma is that when you find yourself retriggered, it's helpful to recognize when things are different."
A LOT IS different for Lewinsky these days, starting with the fact that until last year, she had hardly appeared publicly for a decade. Now 41, the former White House intern, once famously dismissed by the president as "that woman," holds a master's degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics.
She splits her time between New York City and Los Angeles, where she grew up, and London, and said it's been hard to find work. Mostly she has embraced a quiet existence: doing meditation and therapy, volunteering, spending time with friends.
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