Yesterday Daily Beast released extremely disturbing recordings made by Neha Rastogi, a quality assurance manager, of her husband, Abhishek Gattani, who is CEO of the startup Cuberon. She made the recordings in the couple’s Santa Clara home. Gattani has been abusive throughout the ten-year marriage and finally Rastogi started recording it.

The recordings are hard to listen to. The violence is scary. The imbalance of power is heartbreaking. But for me the most jarring aspect of the recording is the insider, tech-industry talk that goes on in between beatings.

For example, he poses a hypothetical to her: “OK, here is a link that seems to be landing to a page, which takes you to this content. Would you…”

But then comes the first hit.

“… keep that link, or would you remove it? Tell me…”

Then comes a second hit.

“… Keep that link or remove it?”

Each time I reread the transcript of the recordings, I am stunned by the jargon juxtaposed against the terror.

But I shouldn’t be stunned, really,  Because here’s the profile of an abuser:

  • Socioeconomic pressures
  • Low self-esteem
  • Untreated mental health issues
  • A lack of appropriate coping skills

So what happens when all these factors come together?

There will be lots of talk about domestic abuse among educated, middle-class couples (and full-disclosure, I am part of that statistic). But based on what I know about the startup community (a lot) and what I know about domestic abuse (a lot), I am pretty certain Silicon Valley actually has more domestic abuse problems than other middle-class enclaves.

Silicon Valley is a perfect storm for middle-class domestic abuse.

Financial problems are common in situations of abuse because people who have trouble with money feel out of control and abuse is a messed up way to assert control.

The New York Times is full of stories that remind us that financial trouble is often mental, and always relative to peers. If all your friends have a summer home in the Hamptons, then financial trouble could be having to sell your ski chalet to pay taxes on the beach house. (Conversely, if all your friends live on pasta and potatoes then you will not feel impoverished doing the same.)

Financial hardship is actually a big problem in Silicon Valley. Nearly 40% of Silicon Valley is foreign born. Most of them are on visas that allow US companies to pay below-market wages. Y Combinator is an investment firm gaining more and more influence over Silicon Valley funding models, and the founder of Y Combinator, Paul Graham, has said that a key trait of a startup founder is they can live in poverty.

You might think there is some magical cutoff point when people don’t have financial trouble, but there’s not. CNN reports that a family of four in Santa Clara that earns $100,000 a year would be living in poverty. Silicon Valley is the most expensive housing market the world, and it has the highest concentration of millionaires in the world. So even people earning $500,000 a year could easily fall into the realm of financially troubled. The socioeconomic pressures of Silicon Valley are extraordinary.

I took a look at the LinkedIn profiles of Gattani and Rastogi and it’s clear that Gattani has worked with people who had significant exits, but he probably did not. Gattani and Rastogi are not making it financially. And he is not nearly the hotshot he expected to be. And he’s taking it out on his wife.

Mental health problems are rampant in Silicon Valley.

The New York Times reports that venture capital firms look for people who are just manic enough. So what makes Silicon Valley especially prone to domestic abuse is not just the financial stress, but also that the opportunities attract people who are likely to have mental health issues and also likely to have a lower ability to manage their emotions effectively.

Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Freeman studies the relationship between entrepreneurship and depression. In one study Freeman conducted, nearly half of the entrepreneurs said they experienced mental health issues at some point in their lives.

He says many of the personality traits found in entrepreneurs — creativity, extroversion, open-mindedness and a propensity for risk — are also traits associated with ADHD, bipolar, depression, and substance abuse. This, coupled with a very high rate of Aspergers in Silicon Valley, means people’s ability to self-regulate effectively is compromised.

So lack of appropriate coping skills is a ubiquitous problem. Yet the demands for coping skills are higher than most places.

Richard Hagberg is famous for coaching Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and he explains that most startup founders do not have appropriate coping skills because the level of stress people experience running a startup is not like anything else. It’s 24/7, you are responsible for the livelihoods of many people, and you must scale very very quickly, with no roadmap. Every morning you wake up having to fend off failure.

But of all the trends you will read about concerning Silicon Valley, the one that’s most important is this one:

Silicon Valley is full of shit.

The feminist narrative of Silicon Valley makes me want to stab my eyes out. Sheryl Sandberg spent years convincing women that they should idolize her and try to emulate her by “leaning in.” She has since backtracked on her Lean In diatribe. And she acknowledges that working full time in Silicon Valley while you have kids is only marginally possible.

Which is why most big companies in the area pay for women to freeze their eggs. Which is of course less of a perk and more of an insult to women since we really have no idea if freezing eggs works, and women are giving up their most fertile years.

And you already know that Silicon Valley is all white and Asian. But did you know that people in Silicon Valley don’t care? A recent survey shows that 80% of workers in Silicon Valley think their company is diverse. Yet in reality only 4% of workers are black or Latino.

The findings are not earth-shattering because Silicon Valley has never been known for transparency or honesty. Entrepreneurs can’t talk about what is really going on with them or their company because it shows vulnerabilities to investors or to board members and then the value of the company goes down.

So people don’t show their true selves. Or the true reality of anything, really.

Fight BS with social transparency and personal honesty. 

Rastogi read a victim-impact statement aloud in court. She is protesting the light sentence her husband received (less than 30 days in jail) even though he pleaded no contest. And, if you live in Silicon Valley and you want to make a difference, you can show up at the Santa Clara Superior Court in San Jose to put pressure on Judge Allison Danner to give a harsher sentence. In this case, the pressure might actually work — the judge did the sentencing early so she could leave on vacation, which means she hasn’t heard the victim-impact statement yet.

You can also stop lying about your life and in particular your life in Silicon Valley. And those of us outside of Silicon Valley should stop lying to ourselves about domestic violence. The victims can be strong, smart, capable women who lose their way in the maze of marital compromise. And the abusers can be the bright, charismatic, hard-working men we read about in glossy magazines.

We don’t benefit by distancing ourselves from the horrors of this case. We benefit by going closer.

There are thousands of equally admirable, well-educated women who did not have the foresight or chutzpah to record their husband beating them. Do you want to know what you can do to help those women stand up for themselves? Stop acting like it’s something that would never happen to you. Something that you’d never put up with.

Just like you could be living in poverty in Silicon Valley on a six-figure salary. You could also be the woman who doesn’t leave the scene of domestic violence. That’s what we can take away from the horrible violence of Abhishek Gattani, and the stoic resolve of Neha Rastogi.

73 replies
    • DanaB
      DanaB says:

      Let me contribute a story that reinforces what Penelope has put forth. *Under the right set of circumstances*, people not normally inclined to assault a partner can become a person who does.

      My marriage ended over 20 years ago and there was no physical or verbal abuse. But, if we disagreed about anything I was usually met with smug disregard and would be negotiating with a brick wall, period. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to realize that was a bad plan for marriage and I left.

      Fastforward to last year and I did an internet search on him. WOW! What an eye-opener, he had just been arrested for misdemeanor battery (in his mid-60’s) against his second wife! A bit of relevant backstory: this guy came from a highly-educated, middle/upper class family where physical assault WAS NOT the case. He was Ivy-League educated and in the investment business. But, he and wifey made some extreme money decisions over a decade ago that turned out badly AND they accidentally wound up with 3 kids as older parents. Plus, I’d heard from others that she really liked to spend the dough.

      Well, he finally snapped. He did not grow up around that, was well aware that assaulting someone is barbaric and if they’d been on the same page about how to spend/save money and manage the family — it likely would not have happened. I am sure that many different decisions could have been made by both them in times past. But, they clearly didn’t resolve issues during their marriage, it eventually got to a boiling point and the lid blew off.

      *Under the right set of circumstances*, folks…… be careful.

  1. Brian
    Brian says:

    I read the referenced Daily Beast article and it’s very disturbing. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this relationship was on its way to becoming a murder / suicide, especially if this guy’s professional life somehow deteriorated significantly.

    I don’t understand the reluctance of the legal system to prosecute him in a manner that might result in his deportation. Seems that would be a desirable outcome, not one to be avoided. Are they so reluctant to hold an immigrant responsible for his actions that they’re willing to overlook him beating his wife repeatedly in front of their toddler? Is this a function of geography? Is the legal community of Silicon Valley really willing to permit domestic violence in order to adhere to some crazy form of systemic political correctness?

  2. Tom
    Tom says:

    Nice post.

    I think more people should record their abusers, in more contexts.

    It’s important that these people not get away with it.

    (And it’s amazing to me that this judge seems well on her way to letting him get away with it.)

    But the recordings, released into the public domain, will end his reign of terror.

    He will spend the rest of his life managing a 7-11, which is about right for guys like him.

  3. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    When I was 12, I watched ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’ with my mom and she said, If this ever happens to you, come straight home to me. I thought, I would kill anyone who ever tried to do that to me. I was a bolshy 12 year old, but now I often come home from work and say to my boyfriend, these are all the sexist things that happened to me today. So now I’m not so sure because I see how it happens, how it’s everywhere. I have a reputation at work for being “a feminist” (not just with quotation marks but also eye rolls). It’s much easier to nod along and say nothing and tell yourself you’re not part of it. Instead I talk about everyday sexism all the time with my friends, both men and women, because I want to keep it in the light and hope that if we refuse to ignore the little things, it’ll be harder to dismiss domestic abuse.

  4. Tom
    Tom says:

    I just read the article. It is DISGUSTING that this judge is under-charging this bastard so that he’s not deported.

    DISGUSTING.

    • Cáit
      Cáit says:

      I know this is strange but I feel his legal punishment is adequate. He will be a felon and will do jail
      time. I don’t understand the desire for extra time or deportation. I always am the unpopular one advocating light sentences though.
      What’s unusual and not instructive about this case though is the wife is asking for a criminal justice solution to this. Usually wives are between a rock and a hard place and want to stay and not see their husbands jailed or shamed , but they do want the abuse to end.
      I’ve long been an advocate of a non criminal system for abused women get outside help with their husbands without feeling culpable for jailing convicting shaming the breadwinner. Clearly some cases need justice system intervention though.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        He was convicted of abuse years prior to this and his wife advocated for a light sentence. He did a year of anger management training. When he finished he was back to beating her.

        This is his second conviction.

        Penelope

  5. Logan
    Logan says:

    I find it offensive that there is an assertion being made here by Penelope that Silicon Valley ceos are more likely to be violent wife beaters than other men in the world.

    I don’t think so. Men who go around violently punching 8 month old pregnant women are a different kind of evil, not symptomatic of Silicon Valley.

    However, in the linked article, it appears that this had been an arranged marriage, and she did not really know him and only met him a handful of times before marrying him. I think that is the root of the problem. She did not know him before she married him.

  6. Poppy
    Poppy says:

    I understand the point of stating that this could happen to anyone, and still it really frightens me because it’s like saying “There is nothing you can do to protect yourself”. Is recognising it could happen to anyone compatible with taking responsibility for your choices?
    What do you guys think? I’m confused.

    • KK
      KK says:

      There are always red flags. You just have to know what to look for.

      I married the man with the highest frustration tolerance of anyone I’ve ever met and that has made my life infinitely easier.

      Observe carefully how they behave under stress or in pain.

      • Rebecca
        Rebecca says:

        Yes. I left two abusive husbands while I had children. Today I am 65 and w a man who also had the proclivity to abuse verbally. Maybe in my next lifetime I’ll attach myself to a healthier man. 😬

    • DanaB
      DanaB says:

      Poppy – KK, below, is right. Observe how they behave in stressed or difficult situations and you’ll have a big clue about the potential.

      Something else important is paying attention to how issues get resolved between the two of you. If they aren’t being settled to the relative satisfaction of both, then resentment builds and builds for the one accepting the short end of the stick. And the pressures of money….that one is huge. (see my comment above; second from the top)

    • MK
      MK says:

      I was going to mention something like this.

      Often people will say, “This could happen to anyone–even you! Don’t kid yourself that you’re any different from the victims of this particular situation…” It could be anything from domestic violence to fraud, but the implied conclusion seems to be, “This is terrible situation is basically equal to being struck by lightning in the middle of a beautiful afternoon. There’s no way to predict or avoid it.”

      I don’t think that’s the intended message. I think, more accurately, people are trying to say, “There is no inborn genetic trait that makes you above victimization. We are all vulnerable in some way or another.” In other words, this is not merely an immigrant-thing, or a low-IQ-thing, or a below-poverty-line-thing, or a silicone-valley-thing or a whatever-whatever-thing.

      The intended take-away is not to feel powerless, but to feel empowered to make careful decisions and be alert to possible problems in the future. Not to ignore the problem because you fancy you were born under a special star that protects you from the effects of evil.

      Obviously some of the other comments here reveal people who have successfully extricated themselves from potential or actual danger, so it would be silly to insist that we are all helpless in the face of evil.

  7. Mabel
    Mabel says:

    Send this column to the judge, all the judges of Silicon Valley, its police and its Legal Associations.

    Thank You~

  8. Maria
    Maria says:

    Domestic abuse takes many forms. They are not always obvious, even to the victim until it’s too late, say in the case of trying to cash in her life insurance. My ex never yelled, never raised a finger. But a cheating sociopath will find a way. Quitting the job that had life insurance benefits saved my life. It took 5 years after I left the relationship and saw him for the lying fake he was to come to terms with the fact that by his own admission of putting Diazanon in my tomato plants and picking the tomatoes and making sure I was the only one who ate them. Watching me eat each cherry tomato one by one wasn’t an accident nor ignorance, but pure evil. It almost killed me, I was so sick, him refusing to take me to the emergency room.

    Anyways, it’s everywhere, and yes Penelope, your relationship with the farmer is volatile and you are a victim of domestic abuse.

  9. East Sider
    East Sider says:

    Good for you, Penelope, for writing about this. I really hope your post makes a difference – and sends him back to India after his jail term is complete. It is disgusting that we deported back to Mexico a mother of 4 (2 of them US-born) because she used a fake social security number so she could work and support her children – and we bend over backwards so this sleeze bucket wife-beater can stay here. I hate this system that is so rigged against women.

    • Don CPA
      Don CPA says:

      Yes it is rigged against women…and everyone else who has limited resources. Money buys influence even when the money is not explicitly used for that purpose.

  10. Sarah M
    Sarah M says:

    I’m not even remotely interested or able to be living and working in Silicon Valley, but this was brilliant. I hope he gets much longer than 30 days, and the rest see it as a wakeup call.

  11. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    Penelope what a coincidence! We just applied to YC and found out that we did not get to the interview stage (last night). Although I was initially briefly sad at first, I ultimately felt relieved as I am a finalist for another opportunity on the East Coast and going for both at the same time would have been too much. Although I found the whole application process useful and as of now we plan to apply to YC again, this article is perfect timing. I have a lot of friends in San Jose, but come to think of it they are all white males and emotionally pegged as you have outlined. Sometimes, I believe, there are no coincidences. Thank you so much for this article!

  12. Stacy Jackson
    Stacy Jackson says:

    I am a woman who has worked in Tech as a programmer, project manager, and sales for the past 19 years. I fairly recently spent 2 years in Silicon Valley with a high growth company, and have since moved to the mid-west while continuing to work in Tech. Penelope is right on – while I loved the geophysical aspects of Northern California and the cultural options, from a professional perspective Silicon Valley is some sort of alternate universe I want no part of going forward. While I feel women still have issues to deal with in every part of the country/industry – the rampant ego, sexism and general sanctimonious attitudes had me running for the hills. I find tech much more amenable and livable from afar. Let them eat cake, I don’t want a single bite.

  13. J.E.
    J.E. says:

    This also shows how domestic violence has farther reaching consequences. Not only was this guy beating his wife, he was metaphorically beating everyone who works for him. It’s a pretty good guess that his company will tank fast unless they get someone in who can do amazing damage control. All the employees that worked for him and depended on their jobs at his company for their livelihoods are now out of work if the company fails due to his monstrous behavior. I can see this jerk committing suicide because the Daily Beast article says he threatened suicide before if his coworkers found out. Well, everyone knows now.

  14. Katie
    Katie says:

    Reading this, I feel like a wind came along and blew some blinds open. 15 years in the valley and sanctimonious is a word that rings true. Sexism is right there along with it.

    • Jen
      Jen says:

      So many people have such crazy fantasies about life in Silicon Valley, and it is refreshing to hear some reality. I just moved to Colorado after working in the Valley for 20 years. I still work for a high tech company, but it is such a relief to be out of the Bay Area and the tremendous financial pressure and social pressure to be “successful.” I work for the same company I did there, but here I don’t constantly feel like I am a “failure” for not working for Google or a cool startup. And to not feel broke all the time, even on a six figure salary.

  15. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    OMG. I just tried to listen to the recording. I got very upset about halfway through and could not finish it. I am going to backtrack on something I said earlier. I am not sure if I will apply to YC again. Unless there is outrage from the community on this atrocious behavior that is not a community of which I want a part. You are the product of the people with whom you spend time, right? And how could the judge just basically let him go? Onwards and upwards. I am more determined to make my startup succeed.

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth says:

      I did not admit this the first time but I will now: I started crying when I listened to the recording and had to shut it off; and involuntarily threw up an hour later. As a bona fide, bust-my-ass advanced-degree woman on tech, this is utterly revolting. Thanks for writing about this Penelope. In spite of empty platitudes we have to keep on going.

  16. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    Thank you for always being open about the violence in your personal life. You were the the only person who made me feel like there wasn’t something wrong with me for experiencing abuse. The discourse around domestic violence can be so alienating.

  17. Cáit
    Cáit says:

    Silicon Valley is full of it.
    Yes.
    SS in her book claims she’s doing it all for those girls in Afghanistan sold into prostitution…
    Like men who work with her don’t pay for sex, look at obscenity, please. They just keep if off the streets there because they are rich. Silicon Valley cooperate feminism, which means celebrating the accomplishments of .01% of special capitalist prom queens has zero to answer to exploitation of vulnerable women. Not there, not here, not anywhere.

  18. Jim Grey
    Jim Grey says:

    For a while I recorded all interactions with the person who abused me. It’s like she could sense somehow that I had a recorder in my pocket. Nothing bad ever happened when I was recording. The minute I forgot the recorder (this was before smartphones), bam.

  19. Jim Grey
    Jim Grey says:

    Related: A bunch of years ago I worked for a tech publishing startup. You’d recognize their brand; it was hugenormous 20 years ago.

    This article is about that company’s CEO and his sexual-harassing ways:

    https://www.inc.com/magazine/19970801/1295.html

    The point is, the character of the leader really does matter. When you do bad deeds as a leader, it truly does affect everybody below you — even if you don’t get caught.

  20. Christopher Chantrill
    Christopher Chantrill says:

    Soince Neha Rastogi abused his wife he should be punished according to the law. Them’s the rules.

    But. Applying the culture of relationships to Silicon Valley misses the point.

    Men are fighters and women are lovers. This worked fine in the hunter gatherer era when men guarded the border and women did everything else.

    The miracle of capitalism and now Silicon Valley is that it gives men some harmless fighting to do in a world of very few borders. Fight to the death over market share! Risk everything on getting the first smartphone to the market. Send a rocket to Mars!

    But tech is not a world for women and relationships. It is a world for men that are three-parts crazy. Think Steve Jobs, Elon Musk.

    Steve Sailer has written that women did fine in software when it was an ordered, bureaucratic, protected world for Grace Hoppers to design nice non-threatening COBOL (Oh God, the fussy stupidity of COBOL…). But not in the crazy beserker world of start-ups.

    For tech startups think Max Weber and his notion of charismatic leadership. Or Vikings in their longships.

    But not relationship culture. Or mental health. Or sharing. When Silicon Valley does submit to the relationship culture it will be time for the crazy berserker men to go onto something else.

    • Maria
      Maria says:

      Christopher,

      While you romantically browsed through the ahem, fetishized version of the role of women…women were fighting in combat and those women were able to do so because other women were fighting to fight in combat. Not all women. Some women left the military and went into security, got degrees, launched businesses, rose through the ranks while fighting off the unwanted advances of predators, facing discrimination, having babies, keeping careers, sometimes doing it as single mothers. Why did these women join the military? Not for the same reasons as men. Women joined to escape poverty, abuse and discrimination in opportunities and lack of resources for education. These women fought their way into the military when society laughed at them. They came out different than when they went in. They are survivors.

      As for back in the ‘good ol days’ when men were hunters, gallivanting through the bush while leaving the wifeys back home. Women had to fight off predators, starvation, disease while raising childre and many learned independent skills because, as most women know, you can’t always count on a mere man.

      Oh, yeah, the Queen of England outlived and out ruled all the male Presidents while giving birth to a few children. That is one badass woman…and yes, she was also in the military before she became queen (She was a truck mechanic). Just food for thought.

      Signed,

      An Army Veteran

  21. Cate
    Cate says:

    Book recommendation:

    Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men by Lundy Bancroft

    Bancroft ran a counseling program for abusers (mental, physical) on the east coast and wrote up what he learned. Brilliant book.

    Essentially – it’s a sickness learned from his family and culture. It’s not a result of “feelings”. It is a result of learned beliefs and attitudes about women, and a wife in particular.

  22. Anon
    Anon says:

    A significant part of this is not that it’s Silicon Valley. It is the cultural ties back to India.

    In India, men are allowed to beat their wives. And do more. And that’s just how it is.

    This man carried the cultural norms with him. In his head, he was allowed to — and would have no bad consequences. It was normal.

    • Maria Miccoli
      Maria Miccoli says:

      Just as we have learned actions have consequences so do words. You claim this is an India issue because in India men are allowed to beat their wives. It is normal.

      This is a lie perpetuated by likely a man who has a history of wife beating on his own to sympathize and normalize such abuse against another by falsely claiming this is allowed in India.

      A simple Google search shows that the “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005” in India was enacted to protect women of domestic violence.

      It angers me to no end when false information by anonymous liars is disseminated in a forum that is so sensitive to women that some have been triggered just by either reading the article or going further and listening to the abuse.

      SHAME ON YOU Anon and get counselling so your toxic crap doesn’t pollute the rest of society.

      I live in Alberta. Alberta has a large oil industry as well as a large agricultural industry. The one statistic that struck me was that 1 in 4 women were victims of domestic violence in agricultural areas. They are working for free 12 hour days on the farm, have no resources, are isolated, and nobody can hear them scream for help nor can they hear those men. Yes, gentle Canada. It’s in every industry and every country. Many women die at the hands of their abusers.

      So Anon, stop spreading lies and false information.

      • Kevin
        Kevin says:

        “A simple Google search shows that the “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005” in India was enacted to protect women of domestic violence.”

        Doesn’t that point to the fact that previous laws and customs might have been inadequate protection or turned a blind eye?

      • Tom
        Tom says:

        Wow, they passed a law against it! So it obviously must never happen!

        Thank you for the utterly false yet wholly PC lecture. You may not believe this, but no one, not even you, believe your nonsense.

        PC lies like yours are what this prick counts on to enable him to thrive in a society where his behavior is not merely “illegal” — but is unacceptable.

    • Cáit
      Cáit says:

      The same thing occurred to me. It seems to be a lot more common in subcontinent cultures.
      There are cultural issues at play here to.

      • Cate
        Cate says:

        Yup. Divorcing an Indian guy now (I am white). He didn’t beat me but he was emotionally abusive. Learned it from dear old dad and a culture that condones the lower status of women.

  23. Tanya Monteiro
    Tanya Monteiro says:

    You always manage to write posts that get under my skin and keep me thinking for days. As a person who has recorded a conversation without someone’s consent I found myself wondering if she provoked him (embarrassing but true). However, this is the part of me that ‘works well’ in abusive situations, it’s also a reason for silence. Our wiring is so warped after abuse that we need to stay very awake and aware of our own thoughts to allow changes and new healthier relationships. Bravo to you for always finding ways to tell the truth and to shine a light on what really matters!

  24. B
    B says:

    “Gattani and Rastogi are not making it financially (says P) And he is not nearly the hotshot he expected to be. And he’s taking it out on his wife.”

    She said he was abusing her long before he founded his startup in 2015. So no, it was not Silicon Valley CEO stress that drove this guy nuts. He was already there.

  25. Linus
    Linus says:

    “The system has shown me that concerns over Abhishek’s immigration status has completely trampled rights of my daughter and my own. ”

    Think about this woman’s battered face next time you protest Trump’s policies.

  26. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    Guess no one wants to address the elephant in the room? Perhaps these immigrants bring with them some attitudes towards women that aren’t particularly “progressive” from the home country? It’s ok you can call me whatever name you want.

    • harris497
      harris497 says:

      Stephen, based on the number of times the police have been to my neighbor’s house, it’s not an immigrant problem. The only name I’d call you is Blind.

  27. jessica
    jessica says:

    People can use all the labels and excuses in the book for not getting the help they need as an adult, before suffering the consequences of their poorly thought out actions and behavior. Good riddance to them.

    And I’m gonna point out the obvious here- a lot of sufferers don’t speak out the way she has due to financial constraints​.

  28. JK
    JK says:

    Let’s not make excuses for abusers because they are “middle class” or “entrepreneurs.” I would say that misogyny is more of a factor in predicting abusive behavior than anything else. These same men don’t hit their friends, other men, dogs, coworkers, or other relatives…

  29. Patricia
    Patricia says:

    Judge Danner’s original sentence is shockingly light, but what could be more unremarkable than that?

    Our society (maybe all societies, maybe it’s just a human thing) programs us to defend the status quo. That means protecting people with power or status from people who don’t have it. So the rich are protected from the poor, the white from the black (I want to say from the whole rest of humanity, which is also true, but wimpy), and men are protected from women, even by readers of this blog, even when the woman is Penelope. And it hardly stops there. Adults are protected from children. Popular students, even, are protected from unpopular ones, by other students but also by parents, by principals, by teachers: it’s why bullying is so hard to eradicate.

    If you really want to right a wrong you have to expect that resistance and you also have to expect that some of it will be internal. It doesn’t make you a bad person, but it’s going to keep pushing you in a direction that neither your morals nor your intellect want you to go.

    Let’s hope Judge Danner’s morals and intellect win over instinct this time. And let’s fight to change the law. If we think inflicting years of terror and pain on someone merits more than a 30 day sentence, we should do something about it.

  30. Ramya
    Ramya says:

    This is an excellent post and points very clearly to the take always from this episode. Thanks Penelope for the perspective. The content is quite gory and tough to come to terms with, so even I was not very comfortable to read the entire impact statement. I skimmed through it and the woman and her daughter remained in my prayers from the minute I read it. Yes, this post is an eye-opener. Thank you once again. I will support Neha by showing up in the court on the day of hearing. Thanks also for putting that info out.

  31. kanika
    kanika says:

    This man is horrific. In all its rights deserves to be hanged. Eradicate the problem rather than spending all your energies in talking, discussing and putting him in jail and then releasing. There is no reason such a threat should walk the earth. Why do we need to risk more women or more situations? What his wife went through is horrible and he poses a serious threat to society.To keep it simple this man does not deserve an even a single daylight and the rushed judgment does not come as a surprise since there are many other women ailing in the hands of corrupt and yet illegal judgments made by incompetent US judges.

  32. Ju
    Ju says:

    Thanks Penelope for relating this incident so closely with the minds of Silicon Valley beings. Yes, you are bang on right when it comes to various stress levels while living in the valley. As an entrepreneur or as a high level executive, the earnings doesn’t bring a better lifestyle. It only brings more stress. My husband went through extreme stress in his previous company. No he did not take that as an excuse to hurt any of us at home. What prompted him to move out of the stressful work politics and situations was the deterioration in the health and well being of us as a family to the extent of risking the life of an unborn baby. His constant absence during weekdays and weekends made a huge dent on my physical and mental health.
    He is a fine example of making efforts for the lifestyle changes and set priorities that can bring life back on track. It’s all about knowing what’s the tipping point.
    In a case of any abuse probably the path to breakaway seems impossible enough,that a human loses the ability to reason out.

    And to dismiss some of the comments here…no its not a cultural problem for men of certain countries to hit or abuse women. Just like Neha mentioned, she has never seen a man of this sorts in her own family. Yes it happens just like it happens everywhere else in the world. Bad apples don’t exist only in certain parts of the world.
    Some of these societies would have trashed this monster and taken law to their own hands if they ever saw a woman in their neighborhood being dragged and beaten outside her home. This part of the world probably use their words loud enough until the bad apples are junked from the good ones. While the other side of the world may just trash it out on their own. Each have their own way of protecting the good ones. The perspective behind the intended actions remains the same.
    It’s my first time visiting your blog. Loved the way you write. Thanks!

  33. Monica
    Monica says:

    great post Penelope. What a sociopath. More awareness is needed. Couldn’t agree more with your statement “We don’t benefit by distancing ourselves from the horrors of this case. We benefit by going closer.”

  34. Melanie Marconi
    Melanie Marconi says:

    Thank you for this, Penelope… this sentence is completely unacceptable. DV is so destructive to our families and communities and given that very few cases in Silicon Valley are brought to light, it is imperative that Judge Danner make this message clear via appropriate punishment.

    I was also a bit appalled that Judge Danner’s sentencing was done quickly so that she could leave for vacation… I am on vacation now, and just took a minute to find her email addresses and send her a note with my thoughts and to ask her to please reconsider his sentence once she listens to the Victim Impact Statement. Should anyone else want to send a note as well, here is the addy I found that didn’t bounceback: danneram@gmail.com

    Many thanks as always for such great work!
    Melanie

  35. Lynne
    Lynne says:

    Yay for Outing Elephants!

    P – This is one of your better posts. Why? Because it serves to raise awareness and outs-the-elephant of yet another taboo topic for those of us that have ‘been there’ know, but cannot speak –unless we are in a position to accept being forever blacklisted from continuing to work. Anywhere.

    And it’s not just Tech… And it’s not just Silicon Valley. It is only from my own personal experience that employee abuse and personal abuse is at its highest when living and working in a society where the socio-economic and company culture is off-the-charts competitive, coupled with unrealistic financial, employee, and personal demands and expectations. Investors want the return on their money. Now. Founders want their big pay day (sell the company). Now. All I can think of as I write this post is that I lived in a corporate world of lies, lies, lies.

    When I do retire, I will write a book, blog and become a public spokeswoman and advocate about the truths of working in tech. And not just just tech, but the truths about being a woman in our male-dominated workplace. Still. Today. 2017. If you’re a woman, you better be gorgeous, young, brilliant, and willing to play. the. game. (There are always exceptions, of course).

    I will need an attorney before I write my first book because it will unveil truths about a company who was, at the time I was working there in a VP position, the most widely held stock in the US. Yet, I knew the company was about to implode. Big time. The CEO and his/her team were outright lying to investors and shareholders. How did I know? I was in PR/IR/AR, Corp Comms. My options were frozen. This company did implode – and served as the catalyst for the first dot com bust.

    I spent the majority of my tech career in Silicon Valley. First job out of college was in Redwood City, CA in 1980. At the beginning of the so-called SV geo and culture. Yep, I’m old. 58 to be exact. And still working in Tech. But back to my roots on the East Coast, and running my own company. More later…

  36. Putlockers
    Putlockers says:

    I am really very lucky to watch Silicon Valley TV shows. It’s amazing and I watch this TV Series on Putlocker91 because it provides in HD quality.

  37. Anon
    Anon says:

    “The victims can be strong, smart, capable women who lose their way in the maze of marital compromise. And the abusers can be the bright, charismatic, hard-working men we read about in glossy magazines.”

    Here’s another book: Not To People Like Us: Hidden Abuse In Upscale Marriages by Susan Weitzman. When I read this book- I left my husband after 10 years of abuse… I couldn’t figure out what was happening in my marriage and why I had these classic “abused women” thoughts: ‘yes, he did x, but I provoked it.’ Then I read this book and saw myself and my marriage- and I got out.

    I had no idea I could be this peaceful and relieved and happy to be alive just living on my own.

    We don’t want to believe that charming men will have these hidden sides- but character is revealed in private.

  38. Alan
    Alan says:

    “Yet in reality only 4% of workers are black or Latino…”

    And why do you suppose that is? Oh, it -must- be racism. Why? Because I said so.

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