Monica Lewinsky gets standing ovation, glowing reviews for speech on cyberbullying

"I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo, and of course, That Woman," said Monica Lewinsky on the stage of the TED global conference last Thursday.

In the speech on cyberbullying, Lewinsky describes herself as "Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale".

This time, the labels associated with her are distinctly different - a remarkable turnaround for Lewinsky, who has kept a low profile since the 1998 scandal named after her.

"Brilliant", "courageous", "poignant", "empowering", are the adjectives used to describe her talk in various articles.

A New York Times headline says: "Monica Lewinsky is back, but this time it's on her terms".

The 41-year-old comes across as poised, intelligent, mature and attractive, though distinctly nervous at times.

In her talk at the conference in Vancouver, Canada, she spoke candidly of the humiliation she suffered due to a 1998 sex scandal with then US president Bill Clinton. But she re-told it in her words, and reframed the narrative.

"At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss. At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences," she said, reminding the audience that the "sin" that earned her public humiliation and made her the butt of innumerable jokes is not an uncommon experience for a young girl.

She recounted announcing her campaign to end online bullying at a Forbes' Under 30 summit in Philadelphia late last year.

She joked about being "hit on" that night by a 27-year-old man whose unsuccessful pick-up line was that he could make her feel like she was 22 years old again.

"I am probably the only person over 40 who does not want to be 22 again," Lewinsky quipped.

She spoke of being swept up into a political, legal and media maelstrom unlike anything seen before. Pictures and stories centred on the scandal were hot commodities online.

"When this happened to me 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now, we call it cyberbullying and online harassment," she said.

She urged an end to "shaming as a blood sport" by resorting to compassion and empathy instead of bullying and ridicule.

"Imagine walking a mile in someone else's headline," Lewinsky suggested at the close of a talk that prompted a standing ovation.

Her talk, and nascent campaign against cyberbullying comes as concern about the phenomenon has risen.

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