Monica Lewinsky Ted Talk

Monica Lewinsky: The Price of Shame

If you haven’t seen the Monica Lewinsky Ted Talk yet, watch it here.

Most people just think of Monica as that intern that sucked a president’s dick. You don’t think of her as a person. As a real life, living breathing person, with feelings. Here, she makes you realize that not only is she a person, but a little bit of what she went through.

It brought me to tears.

She is absolutely right in her speech. “Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop.” People are so busy vilifying people online, but they’re not attempting to find a useful solution to situations. Even as recently as last week, with the John Laws drama. People called for him to be sacked, people called for him to be cast aside, but nobody looked at the bigger issue. Yes, Laws is a dinosaur, but honestly, even as a victim, there are times when I have no idea what to say to people. I have people share with me their abuse ALL the time, but sometimes, it’s in a situation you don’t expect, and it can throw you off guard. When you’re not expecting it, sometimes words fail you. Which is why I suggested sensitivity training. It’s probably something that ALL journalists and media people should do, because you just never know what someone will share with them. If it’s going to be live on air, they need to be prepared for it.

I think what really struck me about her interview is that I know what she went through. Certainly not on the scale she did. But, when I first went public about what happened to me, it was insane how I was attacked online. I had emails, tweets and blog comments telling me all kinds of awful things. The media dissected me. Talk shows discussed whether I was telling the truth, or if it was all a ploy to sell a scuba show. I woke up one morning to a morning show with a screen cut in four, as a bunch of people discussed my abuse. (Or lack of)

Maybe it’s hard for people to have empathy until they’ve been in such a situation. I know that I’ve certainly changed my habits over the last 5 years. I like to think I was always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, but now, I really feel for people who have been the object of a lynch mob in the new media.

I hope you never have to go through what some people do. You can help by thinking before you tweet, text, comment or youtube your opinion. Remember, the person you’re dealing with, is a real live person, with feelings, just like you.