Monica Lewinsky is penning an essay about her affair with former President Bill Clinton in a Vanity Fair exclusive. (Reuters)

Regarding the May 7 Style article “Rewriting her own story”:

There is no such thing as a consensual relationship between a White House intern and the president of the United States. Period. 

This is not a subtle point, and it is troubling that, after all these years, Monica Lewinsky still doesn’t get it. An excerpt from her upcoming article in Vanity Fair suggests that the aftermath of ugly publicity made her a victim, not the affair itself (since she “consented”). It is a testament to the power of denial in cases of victimization.

On the surface, it would seem that realizing you were a victim would be a relief: It wasn’t your fault. But the evidence doesn’t support that. Even very young children who are the victims of sexual predators carry with them the idea that it was somehow their fault, and it often takes years of painful therapy before they can stop feeling guilty. Often it is easier to forgive the abuser than yourself.

Being older than 18 doesn’t make a person immune from being a victim. Inequality of power makes “consent” not possible, regardless of the victim’s age.

The Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal captivated the nation's attention in 1998 and beyond. Here are the Clinton family's reactions to the scandal, through the years. (Pamela Kirkland/The Washington Post)

Rhoda Ruttenberg, Takoma Park