Trending News Monday: Monica Lewinsky Combats Cyber Bullying

A broken nose, black eye, disheveled or wet hair and torn jeans used to be signs that a kid had encountered a bully. Although, these interactions still happen and still are unacceptable, today’s society has an equally (if not more) destructive form of bullying: cyber bullying. Unlike the big, mean kid waiting to strike in the bathroom or hallway, cyber bullies can be anyone, like ‘popular’ teens in school, classmates’ parents, celebrity bloggers or malicious hackers. The small, weak outcasts are no longer the only victims on the Internet, but anyone including the ‘cool’ kids and celebrities.

So much of our world and interactions are housed on the Internet and social media that they can dictate our reputations anywhere in the world. Google, Bing and Yahoo! can show a person exactly how the Internet sees him/her; and one instance of cyber bullying can be the highest ranking thing the Internet remembers about a person. Think of teens like Amanda Todd and Tyler Clementi who are just two examples of the drastic and all-too-prevalent results of cyber bullying. Organizations like the Tever Project, ItGetsBetter.org and The Tyler Clementi Foundation all focus on helping youth, specifically LGBT youth, overcome bullying.

Last Thursday, several influencers and brands took to social media (as well as the real world) to advocate the GLAAD #SpiritDay and take a stand against bullying. The purple out grabbed the mainstream attention for the day, but a surprising figure has emerged to continue the conversation. In her fourth public speech ever (including the speech she made at her brother’s wedding), Monica Lewinsky addressed cyber bullying. At Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia, Monica Lewinsky announced her calling to combat cyber bullying–an issue she knows all too well.

When news of her affair with former President Bill Clinton hit the media in 1998, Lewinsky became what she calls the “first patient” of cyber bullying. Long before Twitter or Facebook and even before Google, Lewinsky learned that the Internet could shape a reputation thanks to cyber bullying. Although Lewinsky wasn’t defending her affair (which occurred two decades ago), she did shed some light on how the circulation of the news–some true, some false, some in context, some out of context–made her feel: suicidal. The sex scandal fallowed her around the world, through the help of the Internet. Her story was shared on websites, blogs and emails. The shaming humiliated her, almost to death. After hearing of Tyler Clementi’s death in 2010, Lewinsky realized how she could share the cyber bullying she experienced and help join the efforts to end cyber bullying. Read Lewinski’s full speech on Forbes.

While some might see Lewinsky as a controversial figure, her assistance to the cause is important: far too many victims of cyber bullying aren’t around to help those who are going through it today.

Cover Photo Source: Gil C / Shutterstock.com

Cassandra is a Content Manager and Developer at SJG. She earned her BA from Fontbonne University in 2011. Outside the office, she enjoys an active, healthy and well-rounded lifestyle including reading, writing, running, golfing, watching films, listening to music, taking photographs, and consuming media and social media.