Cyberbullying almost killed Monica Lewinsky, who admits that the profound shame she felt and the overwhelming public humiliation she endured nearly led her to suicide.
Society’s intense cyberbullying that focuses on shaming, abuse, and humiliation can lead other people who may not be as strong or as articulate as Monica to do just that.
Brene Brown who has taught so profoundly about the impact of shame, says that “shame erodes our courage and fuels disengagement. Whatever you may think of Monica’s actions as a 22 year old, I for one applaud her courage in speaking so candidly on such a high-profile forum where haters could so easily attack her. I also applaud her for her willingness to step back into the limelight and engage on behalf of other victims.
Many of us have experienced “shaming” in our lives and know how it sears the soul. I certainly have. Monica experienced it on a global level. However poor her choices may have been at 22, she has paid a huge price for them.
I also felt ashamed of how judgmental I was at the time of the “Lewinsky Affair” and the lack of compassion I had for “that woman”. I never really put myself in her shoes or took her youth into consideration. Instead I took much of what the media said at face value.
I applaud Monica for standing her ground, telling her story and having the presence of mind to see it in a broader social context.
The point of her talk was the danger of online bullying and who better to address this than someone who went from being a completely private figure to worldwide notoriety overnight.
Monica points out that now, even more than ever, the Internet has become a venue for public humiliation, shaming and bullying that can and has led to tragic consequences.
She calls upon Internet users to be compassionate and consider a person’s humanity before attacking him or her online and to always use empathy instead of judgement.
I’d love to know your thoughts about Monica’s talk.