In her recent testimony, Holmes said she dropped out of Stanford after being raped, and later found herself in a relationship with Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, whom she alleged was abusive and controlling. . Balwani continues as COO of Theranos and is also on trial for fraud. Both pleaded not guilty and faced up to 20 years in prison; Balwani’s trial will begin in early 2022.
Holmes testified to what Balwani called shots in their relationship, and she was largely under his grip. Balwani deceived her, she said, and controlled her. In a trial where fraudulent intent is central to proving guilt, Holmes’ state of mind and her intentions are directly related.
But everyone’s life is complicated, and two things can be immediately true: Holmes can be a survivor of sexual violence and intimate partner, and she can also be guilty of fraud.
Balwani, Holmes testified, “told me that I didn’t know what I was doing in business, that my beliefs were false, that he was surprised at my mediocrity,” and he said to seek successful, “I need to kill who I am.” He’s older, more experienced, and more successful, so she trusts him and doesn’t question him, she said. According to Holmes, she believed her company’s labs were doing very well until a government investigation in California shut down the Theranos blood testing lab there, which was under control. of Balwani – and the state imposed a two-year ban on Holmes from operating any lab. That’s when she realized, she said, that “he wasn’t what I thought he was.”
But Holmes was not just a victim of violence and abuse. She also runs a company. She is endowed with an extraordinary strength and is aware of the clear rules and responsibilities that come with her position. Her decisions and choices have greatly impacted the lives and livelihoods of many people (and their money).
As the founder and chief executive officer of Theranos, ultimate responsibility for how the company operates rests with both her and COO Balwani. Nothing about their relationship or what else she incurs shall relieve her of her professional liability to the company, its shareholders and all deceived consumers. – and those who have put their health at risk by Theranos’ false claims.
But as we broaden our understanding of abusive relationships, we need not assume that all abused women are incompetent or childish for which they are not responsible. about any aspect of life. We can trust Holmes’ testimony that Balwani abused her and still assume that she also violated her obligations to the company and the public – and that surviving abuse is not is a parole card for fraud.