On the Significance of Just Being Friends

(Trigger warning: rape, sexual harassment)

"Yeah we all know why you want to spend time with Stephanie."

We were ending a big meeting that was pretty important to both of our careers. He had been mentoring me as a more senior dev, and was the person I'd spent the most time with. A project manager asked him what he thought about a potential feature, and he turned to me, moved closer, leaned in, and put his hand close to mine. "Let's ask Stephanie what she thinks." The project manager gave me an angry look that he didn't notice.

"This is just the way men are," another manager who had been coming onto me for months told me.

"I know why you got that promotion, Stephanie."

"Why don't you come back to my place," a manager told me once. I did. We sat on his couch, he told me to stop being so stiff when I said I didn't want to. He put a blanket over us, leaned over, held my hand, started rubbing it. Continued to talk about business.

A woman got into a relationship with a high-up manager, and was promoted. When people started talking about that and how they found it so unethical and annoying (placing the blame on her), I got some stares.

They had no idea what my experiences had been like. They didn't know about the time I was fired when I rejected someone's advances. Or how afraid I've been. They didn't know how much I'd worked to explicitly have the power and respect from others to be able to push advances away without fear of being fired.

I was raped at age 18. It took me many years to recover from that, to start to feel kind of normal and okay and relatively safe around men again.

I've been in a monogamous relationship for going on 7 years with a partner I love dearly.

I have worked hard to support us.

I released a poll a while ago. It's here.

This is also a great thread on this topic. Great commentary from men.

I'm writing this because I just read an article published at Teen Vogue titled Why 'Rogue One's Jyn Erso Doesn't Have a Romantic Storyline and started to cry.

It has only been a year of my life in which nobody I've worked closely with or been mentored by has tried to come onto me. Only this past year, since starting my business.


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