Originally posted on 10/16/2017
My best friend for several years was Christiane. She lived about 8 miles (ca. 13 km) away. We spent as much time together as we could. I loved her. She was fierce, charming, and stunning. And she was a few years older than me. She had a brown belt (Judo) and once put to route a group of four boys/men who were beating a little dog.
One of the many things we loved doing is taking her Beetle and speed up and down a road with many bumps. Like, really speed. We were young and reckless. We laughed a lot. It was a happy time and we were careless.
I will never forget how I had my first glass of Chianti (red wine) and got sick in the taxi. The taxi driver won't forget, either. It was a surprise sickness and it came unexpectedly. Christiane looked at me with sorrow in her eyes and asked: “Are you ok?” I looked at her, and we started to laugh until we thought our belly will explode.
The taxi driver didn't laugh. It was that night that I decided I would never become a taxi driver.
Note: Nothing is just black or just white. In the order to make a point, I will stick to “all black”.
One day, we met somebody at the roller park. We joked around and had a fun time. I had to leave at one point. Christiane went home with him to play SNES.
He raped her. She felt terrible, as was to be expected. My strong friend Christiane felt terrible and would have recovered.
But then her mother told her to go to the police.
I am not kidding you, every word of this article happened as it's written down. The police guy asked her, “Did you wear lipstick?” He asked her if she wore lipstick or a mini skirt. They kept asking her why she didn't fight back. The explanation that she felt like paralyzed was not accepted.
The police made her feel as if she were in the wrong.
She then went to see a psychiatrist. She felt worse and worse and weaker and weaker with each week that passed. I went to the psychiatrist and asked him why it is that my friend felt worse instead of better. He explained that he first has to “tear her apart” to then “rebuild her.”
Sadly, he was obviously not good at the “rebuilding” thing because it never happened.
She settled for a horrible, abusive, disgusting guy who sold to her that she needs protection and that he will keep her safe. She married him and got two kids. He was beating her.
Her self-image was destroyed. Being treated like garbage complied with her new self-image. In my opinion, not the rape but police, court and a highly incompetent psychiatrist destroyed her.
For years, I tried to love her like before, wait until she gets better, help her get better. Her new husband was good at isolating her. She stayed home most of the time. We slowly grew apart.
I visited her a few times, an unhappy wife with dark rings under her eyes. I never saw her careless again. Her loud laughter had become a faint smile with sad eyes. No, sad is not the right word. More like her eyes constantly said: “I'm sorry.”
It broke my heart to see her like that, but I had done everything in my little power and I moved on.
The policeman would act “politically correct” and not speak his mind.
Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein—when we learn about the horrible acts of violence and abuse, we are shocked. That's not what this article is about.
This article is about:
Frankfurt, Germany 1998
Perhaps you have wondered (or not because in America these things are more common) how I, as a Junior High school dropout, could ever get into highly qualified sales positions.
Let me tell you:
I was the assistant to the managing director of a Management Consulting company and tried my hardest to do an excellent job. For some reason, my boss never seemed satisfied with my work. When he first mentioned I should be “nicer”, I assumed that he meant that I refused to order flowers for his wife and made horrible coffee until he did it himself.
One day, he explained in more detail and I can still feel my honest surprise. How could this 30 years older married guy who knew I was in a relationship assume I would have any sexual interest in him?
I didn't know the game back then.
A few days later, I have been downgraded so “sales assistant” and he hired a new secretary. There was one full-time account manager, who was a really delightful man. And there was a washed-up old guy, discharged by IBM, who had been hired for his contacts. He didn't have a quota and got 10k monthly for doing nothing.
Well, that's not entirely true. One thing he did.
He was less subtle than the managing director. He told me straight that if I wouldn't be “fun”, he could cause trouble for me. I'm not really the type who's impressed by washed up, pathetic guys.
But there was a young consultant, Claudia, who was. One day, she came to the office looking like her nightmare. She was crying for hours when she told me that he successfully forced her to perform a sexual act on the washed up, old, disgusting guy.
I blackmailed him and was ready to tell his wife. He left the company.
The managing director made me “Sales Manager” overnight. I received a 7 Million quota and the goal to establish a call center division in Germany. His new secretary was driving a brand-new BMW as a company car. He gave me the used Rover of a consultant he just fired. It was blue with a beige leather interior (ugh).
And he took her to business trips to Canada and other places.
It pays for women to be nice, doesn't it?
The managing director was already pressured from the UK headquarter at that time, and I was beneficial as cannon fodder.
Luckily, the UK headquarters had many great people who helped me a lot (and prospects and clients helped me too) so that I was actually able to sell projects. One of the management consultants sensed (or knew) about my suboptimal situation and brought me to another company who was selling data mining and BI projects.
There I had the best colleagues, clients, and boss anyone can imagine, great success, a wonderful time.
Why did I not tell anyone (besides my boyfriend?) the washed-up IBM guy story? Why did Claudia not tell the police?
The only betrayal in my 11-year otherwise wonderful relationship was when my ex-boyfriend said: “But nothing happened to you, and you won.”
Germany, 2006 – 2012
Some of you know that I left Germany after many years of extreme stalking by a psychopath. At the end, the German police told me that the methods used against me are typically not found in “private stalking” and that they will not be able to help me anytime soon.
They suggested I should move. The FBI guy (it was a giant story, the police handed the case to the German FBI) asked me to not use the internet and not go any place where anything could happen. As it happened everywhere, I am not even sure what he even recommended. That I stop taking part in life?
I asked him if he would tell a man whose car gets vandalized a few times that he has to park at the other end of the city.
A stalker is just a sick person. What did shock me is
I told myself: “Not all men are bad.” And that is the truth.
My life has been very busy until I relocated to the US, where I at first was isolated and lonely. I watched more movies than before.
I realized that it's not “just one sick man”.
Scenes passed in front of my eyes. The little Harvey scenes, scenes of jealousy, the doctor who counted my ribs, unwanted compliments, drama when I broke up with someone, the looks that made me uncomfortable, all the times I have to say “no”, what happened to friends.
You can't read 30 news articles without 3 articles of violence of a man against a woman. That's 10%. And, OMG, why are so many movies about male violence?
Obviously, if your brain filter is set to “seeing bad in men”, you will see a lot of that. We can set our brain filter to “seeing great men" and will see tons of that. Perhaps we should set it to “bad” first to create enough pain for change.
I did have great partners and great relationships. Few but great. I was always very choosy. That also means I was always aware I had to pick the good grapes out of a can of Harveys.
You would think I am too old now. That it stops because men prefer young women. At least, that's what I've been told but can not confirm. It last happened to me in 2017, and it never stopped before that.
Furthermore, one must understand that a man does not necessarily have to find a woman attractive to hit on her.
I worked with a senior and mentor, and when we went to a corporate training I was surprised that the famous man booked us one night longer than I thought was necessary.
Naively, I confirmed that the purpose of the extra night is to teach things and learn things. Awesome! I can learn from the best!
Nothing happened. He just tried it.
Just a little disgusting moment when someone you perceive as a senior and mentor tells you about his sexual preference, that he watches porn and his wife and him have an “open” relationship.
When he realized that - as for all of my life—it's not going to happen, he changed his flight and left a day early.
The sense of entitlement is generally stronger the more money and power a man has. At least in my personal experience. I met more decent car repair guys than wealthy guys in my life.
I've learned long ago to be able to still work with someone. The behavior does not disappoint me. It's too common for that. That's sad if you think about it. It implies a certain level of disillusionment.
I didn't tell anyone. What's there to tell, anyway? Nothing happened. It's ok to try, isn't it? I could tell you many little Harvey stories and so could all other women.
The little Harvey Weinstein moments are as common as a sock that miraculously vanishes in the washing machine.
Where do those socks go, can anyone tell me?
Are you a man reading this? Or a woman? Do you have kids? Either way. Would you teach your “little princess” to be elegant and pretty? To be a Lady?
What is “ladylike”? Do you see a slim silhouette in your mind of a pretty, elegant, soft-spoken woman with that certain level of sophistication and sexiness?
Would your girl play dress-up with her Barbie? Or with mom's cloth? Little princess loves to play dress-up. She wants to look just like mommy, and she has learned early on that pleasing people earns affection, compliments, approval.
Does a woman “know her place” or a lady? Or both? I am confused here.
Whatever you see. It is not a wild, strong, assertive, independent, aggressive creature.
Every girl learns at an early age that she has to be careful.
So basically: Be nice and pleasant and a bit submissive, do what men want but don't do what men want because it will make you a slut while it will make him a player.
You learn to walk, talk, read, write and to be careful of men. That's why you often don't perceive little Harvey moments as “wrong”. Unpleasant and disgusting, yes. But totally normal.
Not the man who looks for women in the dark is in the wrong, but the woman who goes out alone at night. (Was she wearing lipstick?)
You might want to believe that a lot has changed for the better. But has it really? Did we achieve fear of punishment and social judgment, or did the mindset change?
Perhaps, the answer lies in the question “Why do Weinstein, Cosby, and Co do these things?” Answer: Because they can.
Even with the threat of punishment, the numbers of hate crimes against women are alarmingly high.
The next time you read an article about the horrible amount of rape in India or how this or that country disrespects women, ask yourself:
“What would America look like in 2017 if all laws against harassment, violence and any form of abuse would be removed? And nothing a man could do would hurt his social status?”
Scary thought, right?
The little Harvey Weinstein is everywhere.
You, man, who is reading this article are different, aren't you? You were shocked when you heard the president's “locker room talk.”
Have you ever made that certain gestures to show your friends how much you appreciate the rack of a waitress?
Don't think she didn't notice it. We notice everything. We have just built protective walls. The building material is respect.
Not every man is a bad man. There are great men. The only problem is: For one great man, there is a shitty one, or two. And 8 that are “good” or “bad” depending on what is more opportune.
While the majority of men never act inappropriate, the issue with those who do is that they make a big impression. The one time you have a car accident is more prominent in your mind than the 200,000 times you did not.
The two times you got food poisoning from old mayonnaise will cross your mind more often than all the other times you did not. Your brain will try to warn you every time before you take a bite of your sandwich.
ADVERTISEMENT: If you have suffered from food poisoning and would like to enjoy your sandwiches again—emotional intelligence helps you to deal with painful experiences in a constructive way. It allows you to retrain your brain and enjoy your sandwich as if you'd never had been poisoned. (;
I understand that the role of men in society is difficult right now.
Women had to realize that taking care of the fire, looking pretty and raising kids doesn't cut it anymore. We adapted. Meat is available in every supermarket—we don't need hunters. We are educated and can earn our money. We don't need providers.
We might need protection, but statistics show that it's hard to say if we need it more when single or in a relationship.
We can't make kids alone. Right after the male “contribution”, if I am exaggerating, I could say: The baby requires the mother to grow until it sees the light of day and the first months after. It doesn't need his father (black/white, remember?)
I believe that women are (mentally) stronger and more independent (unless they're being oppressed.) And I believe that men require women more than the other way around.
I get how that can be scary when you come from a need-based view on relationships.
Perhaps the modern man should attempt to be wanted more than needed.
It's time to adapt, evolve and get over the fact that we don't need men. We're willing to love and want them in our lives.
Weinstein, Cosby, my experience, your experience ... You know what they say in London about rats: If you see one rat, you know you have a rat problem, and there are thousands more.