Yes, It is different for girls
I was shocked as if it had never happened to me, which is untrue. I was infuriated as if no one around me had ever told me stories about harassment as women. I have no idea why I was so infuriated about hearing this from Heidi. I analyzed my reaction and for some reason when I pictured it happen to Heidi, I was very clear in my head about what my reaction to these situations would have been.
Through the course of my career, I have done what Heidi did. Walked away.In an attempt to not create a spectacle I have been a party to let these issues and episodes seep through the cracks as if these were expected and norm.
Today, years after going through the same harassment myself, I do not want to accept these as a norm. I want to call out on every man, who has had the gumption to take advantage of a woman in business.
Just a few days ago, at the largest technology convention in silicon valley, a highly successful entrepreneur told me that he thought that women were not capable of being successful in their own right and most successful women might have had a "rich' divorce. Appalled at his insinuation, I called him out publicly. Ofcourse he retracted and tried to divert the conversation. However, my bold move did not stop him from stalking me to my car the next evening.
There is a very fine line between a flirtatious exchange and sexual harassment. As women, we toe this line every day. We let it pass because years of practice has made us grow a thick skin and at times; we don't even think twice before relegating these horrific incidents to a norm and to be discarded from our reaction list.
I do not think this method has worked for any of us. And this method has not been effective in making this harassment go away. Time has come for us to call it honestly and truthfully for what it is. Sexual harassment will not go away on it own.
So Mr. CEO who thinks that a newly single woman is available since she is emotionally weak. OR Mr COO who thinks that a woman will never have the guts to stop his advances because he will malign her character much easily than she can damage his reputation. Or Mr alcoholic in a party who thinks he can get away with a bit of groping, or Mr Cyber stalker who thinks a keyboard and a screen will allow him to be anonymous- the time has come; you are all predators in business suits.Unfortunately our silence makes you more dangerous and unless we the women speak out and call it what it is- you will keep doing what you have been doing through the generations before you. Taking advantage of our silence.