Lewinsky was a 22-year-old White House intern at the time of her relationship with the president, which led to an impeachment trial where he was eventually acquitted. In her essay, the now 44-year-old said she was diagnosed with PTSD several years ago, "mainly from the ordeal of having been publicly outed and ostracized back then."
"If you can believe it, there has been at least one significant reference in the press to that unfortunate spell in our history every day for the past 20 years," she explained. "Every. Single. Day."
Though she described the relationship as consensual in a previous post for the publication, Lewinsky said she's now able to "see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege."
Even now, she said, she's "just beginning" to recognize and "consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern. I'm beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot."
Through all this, Lewinsky made sure to point out the "trolls, both Democratic and Republican" who may call her out for her part in the scandal, writing, "None of the above excuses me for my responsibility for what happened. I meet Regret every day."
She added that one of the "brave women leading the #MeToo movement" recently reached out to her on Twitter, telling her, "I'm so sorry you were alone." Lewisnky said that message "undid me" and left her in tears. That "recognition of sorts"
"My hope, given the two decades that have passed, is that we are now at a stage where we can untangle the complexities and context (maybe even with a little compassion), which might help lead to an eventual healing—and a systemic transformation," she added.
Read Lewinsky's full essay at Vanity Fair. It will also be in the magazine's March 2018 issue, which hits newsstands on March 6.