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Monika I am so sorry: Sorry I didn’t stand up for you, and sorry for your pain

You don’t know me, Monika, but I feel like I’ve always known you. Or at least I’ve known that picture of you that the media had painted: the “tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo”.

But now I realize, listening to this TED speech, that I never knew you at all. Now I realize how much my ignorance hurt you. And I am truly sorry.

Monika, I never knew the soul within you and the person you were before the story broke. The story of that woman, and The President.

I never knew the bright, vivacious individual you must have been before your world imploded. The person who – at just 22 year of age – was clearly too young to know better. And was taken advantage of by a man, a very powerful man, who she trusted.

You’re not the first woman to fall in love, and follow your heart, and be vilified in the process. But you may have been the first woman whose reputation would be destroyed instantaneously, on a global scale, by the emerging power of the internet. Email by vicious email. News site by conniving news site.

You and I are just a year apart in age. We’re both educated women. We both made mistakes as 22 year olds. But unlike you, my mistakes weren’t broadcast around the world, swept up in the wave of the World Wide Web.

Unlike you, my mistakes weren’t consumed, click-by-click, by millions upon millions of people, all around the world.

Unlike you, I didn’t lose my reputation and my dignity, only to be reminded of that every single day of my life, for almost my entire adult life.

Monika, I’m sorry I didn’t take the responsibility seventeen years ago to get to know the real you. To stand up for you. To have compassion for your situation and to recognise that you were a victim, not only in the workplace but of a global phenomenon we would come to know all too well. Cyber bullying.

But I am so, so glad you’ve overcome the adversity, reclaimed your narrative and reclaimed your life. Because for other victims of cyber bullying, your story offers hope.

In my work in the student wellbeing sector, I’ve heard story after story of young people whose public harassment and humiliation doesn’t end with “happily ever after”. Young people who are so impacted by the shaming and bullying inflicted upon them that they cant imaging living another day. And who sadly don’t.

But your story reminds us that there is always, ALWAYS hope. And there is always a reason to live on another day. The story of your parents’ loyalty and love and commitment. And the story of your own courage. I can’t help but admire that.

Monika, you’ve reminded me that we each have a very important responsibility to change our community’s attitude and response to public humiliation. To show more compassion. To step up and step into the conversation. To shut down the bullies and stand behind the victims.

And for that, I thank you.


jen dalitz mike baird PSAPS.  It’s voting time here tomorrow in NSW and on behalf of all my team at Peer Support Australia I send good wishes to our local member, Premier Mike Baird.

Mr Baird is a committed and passionate supporter of young people and has been an avid supporter of the work we’re doing at Peer Support Australia to provide leadership and resilience and wellbeing skills to school students right across Australia.

Peer Support began 30 years ago in the aftermath of a student overdose, in Mr Baird’s own local electorate.  It hasn’t always been easy to get the support of policy makers and yet it’s been so important to our success.

So a big thank you for believing in the work we’re doing, and good luck in the election results on Saturday!




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2 months ago

Jen Dalitz

What are the lessons you’re teaching your kids? We took the opportunity of a holiday long weekend to visit my mum interstate as the timing of the trip coincided with my son’s favourite AFL team battling it out against my mum’s beloved team. Perhaps only those of you with the love for AFL will appreciate why we’d plan a long distance trip around a game of footy, but suffice to say it was a passion project! With every ounce of anticipation, the game was a tough, tight duel and could easily have gone either way. Yet when the final siren sounded, it wasn’t our team that was smiling. It sure is tough for a 10 year old boy to sit within a crowd 41,000+ people all cheering for the opposite side. It was tough for him to see the exhaustion and disappointment on the faces of the players he adores. And yet, it’s so important for him to learn that his team won’t always win. There’s so many lessons in that, but the one I chose to instil is that you won’t always back the team that wins but you’ll always back the team that you love. That’s why I asked him to wear his team colours home the next day, and show his support even when the chips are down. That’s the kind of commitment I want my son to learn and the kind of team player I want him to be. PS. #gotheGiants @GWSGiants #neversurrender ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Jen Dalitz

I haven’t been here in a while as the writing has been on hold. But I was reminded today that there are things in our life that light us up. That might take us out of our comfort zone but, once you sit with it, bring you both joy and a sense of “I can do this” achievement. These moments are such a gift. So I’m curious, what’s your special thing that lights you up?

Despite (or in spit of) my professional career, these moments for me normally involve my horses. I’ll never be an equestrian Olympian, but I take great pleasure in all the lessons my horses teach me. They remind me that it’s a team effort, we’re in it together, and that if I’m prepared to give a little bit more, they will too. That’s true whether we’re on the ground taking care of their feet, or grooming, or when I’m atop riding as one. Two hearts one team.
It’s hard to describe the adrenaline and joy they bring to my life. But I’d love to know, what lights you up??
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And so, maybe time does change some things. Or women do.

Skavlan Talkshow
– They let me go at 42 because they told me I was too old to represent women's dreams. #kvinnedagen

Watch our talk show interview with Isabella Rossellini here:
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