I’m an experienced entrepreneur used to ups and downs, but I had never cried until an investor I respected called to tell me that he and his partners were choosing to not invest further in Revolar. I cried a little because I thought they were different and understood why our product is important. But the big ugly tears came when they told me our market wasn’t big enough. That was devastating. To say our market wasn’t big enough is a refusal to acknowledge the large number of survivors out there and a denial of the people that are truly affected on a global scale by sexual violence. It is a refusal to acknowledge that this problem affects almost every single woman you know and that this disproportionately affects women of color and LGBTQ communities. It is a refusal to acknowledge that for too many minority women around the world, their chances of NOT getting sexually harassed (.7%) are as good as the chances ARE for a minority woman receiving Venture Capital funding (.2%).
They aren’t bad men. They are brutally naive. At this point, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve had to resist grabbing some guy’s shoulders and shaking him when he says something along the lines of, “But I don’t know anyone who hurts people like this.” Yes, you do! Or even worse, he’ll say something like, “I just can’t relate to feeling unsafe this way.”
When you’re trying to educate people on a subject they don’t want to admit exists, it’s demoralizing in a way that makes you wonder if you’re crazy. I found that in low moments where I felt exhausted and drained by the entrepreneurial journey, that hearing from someone who loved Revolar and everything we stand for would bolster my energy supply. Because we spoke to their experiences, they would message me, and say thank you. They would share their story with me because they were grateful to speak with someone they could trust and know that we believed them. I’ve had the extraordinary honor of hugging many people who told me I was the first person they ever told. Their words would keep me going on those days and remind me to not lose sight of the truth I see directly in front of me, before my own eyes, daily.
2017 was by far the most brutal of the 6 years I’ve been on the Revolar journey. I was at my absolute lowest point physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was unsure if I had anything left to give. Then #MeToo happened. It took my breath away. For the first time in my life, I finally opened up about my own experiences. People always asked me why I started Revolar, but never why I wanted Revolar for myself. At least that was the excuse I had created for not speaking up sooner. I am grateful my little sister is infinitely braver than me. I found it easier to worry about and protect those I loved rather than admit that I feared for myself as well. #MeToo reminded me that I’m not just fighting for those I love and the communities I serve. I’m fighting for myself.
Stalin said: “The death of one is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” I think the #MeToo movement’s power came in the fact that it personalized the issue for so many people, all at once. It quite literally took a statistic and forced people to see the millions of faces behind it like a great wave of truth. It was beautiful. Heartbreaking. Awe-inspiring. And it took my breath away.
Damn right #TimesUp! Indifference is no longer acceptable. #TellSomeoneNow if you’re going to be a part of the solution, and how. As for me, in light of the #MeToo movement, I pledge to use my voice to stand with survivors and to believe them. I pledge to build technology that honors the voices and experiences of survivors in the hopes of helping survivors heal. I pledge to educate others on how they can create a more positive culture of consent. I pledge to Revolar.