My Name is Lakshmi

My name is not Lakshmi

Screen Shot 2021-06-08 at 11.10.12 AM

“I’m afraid he will kill me or kill my children” Lakshmi declined to provide a photo

My Worst Moment: When I fully realized and accepted that he was not a mentor, career sponsor or even a friend but a serial predator, that I had just been a toy to him, and worst of all he was doing it to someone else. I wanted to kill myself.

I Have Given Up On: vindicating myself to his supporters, given up on projects and unwritten manuscripts that remind me of that time, doubting myself and feeling guilty

I’m Afraid: he will kill me or kill my children.

This Has Cost Me Three years of productivity and career progression, 1 year of costs relating to psychological counseling, 3 friends, countless collaborators, attendance at certain meetings where I know he will be, my office, 2 years of being a mentally present and nurturing parent, 3 years of being a mentally present spouse…

Screen Shot 2021-06-08 at 11.40.02 AMSomething You Should Know About Me: Despite having shakey confidence, feeling worthless and hopeless, I found some sort of inner strength to persist. I found my voice and went through all the HR steps to file a complaint even though everyone said nothing would change. I got organized. I compiled the evidence. I wrote down the names of witnesses and above all I never let go of my inner truth of being a good person who hadn’t deserved the harassment. I WON. HE WAS FIRED.

Is There a Bright Side: Yes. There is fulfillment in seeing a process through and restoration in hope that comes from the official finding of harassment and exposing what he did to me. and the bright side is that he IS GONE.

My Fight Song: Roar by Katy Perry

Secret Weapon: strength in representation. I represent all women of color who are statistically more likely to face harassment and statistically less likely to confront these problems. My inner strength was harnessed when I felt the responsibility of representation.