I was regularly sexually assaulted by a founder while working at a startup. Endured it for 11 months, and then I was fired – no severance, no options. I know if my story ever got out, he would be forced to resign. But I can’t do it, I love him.


  • This sounds to me like a man actually. To the writer, I feel for you, but you should know better to start a relationship in the office, and this person should have been reported if they made unwanted advances.

  • As a woman founder this string of comments just makes me sad. We’re dammed if we call it out and dammed if we don’t. Wow, no wonder things never change in tech.

    • Indeed, things won’t change until women and gay men start rising up and refusing to tolerate unwanted sexual advances. We can’t keep prioritizing the need for a job over our principles and what is right. If one needs the job so badly as to de-facto condone the behavior, then you are as much to blame, I feel. I had to stand up and call it out a few years ago (at a different job) – was not easy, but this monster was quickly gotten rid of. It NEVER gets better, and NEVER ends well, don’t fool yourself. If you are being harassed, you owe it to the rest of us to stand up and call it out, or else it will continue (and make it worse!).

      • I hear principled positions have excellent starting pay.

        I agree with your statement but it’s kept me from earning what my peers make. You either knowing fall into the abyss and hope to keep up with the Jones and have enough to stay in the rental market or even a house and maybe even retire on something more than kitty kibble cash.

  • The sad truth is that the valley is small and a lot of young immature CEOs have the money and connections to make life difficult for others. This is not the first time I’ve heard of something equally as outrageous.

  • I can’t tell whether the “I love him” bit is a piece of 4chan trollery, or an honest paean to the possibility for mixed feelings in abusive relationships, or both. There’s a downside to this ‘anonymity’ thing.

  • Sexual abuse creates the sense that the survivor loves the abuser…well known psychological fact. It feels like normal as things get crazier. What you folks are not getting is Founders and VCs have all the power. The combination of psychological dynamics plus power allows for this stuff to happen.

  • Hi, I am the original poster. I am male (not that it should matter). Did not expect this reaction – had to look up what ‘troll’ means. I should have stated that it started as consensual, but it got very bad later.

    I should have not have written that last part, to say I have mixed feelings is really more accurate, the best way I can put it. Also, reporting this was/is something that’s easier said than done, especially since it started differently.

    I just hate that I helped him through some very tough times (there are things about the company that only he and I know about), and now he’s going to be a billionaire, and I will have next to nothing.

    Thank you all for your advice.

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