Let us carefully walk through the reality of a victim(s) signing a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA):
1. NDA’s benefit the party(s) for whom the details of abuse allegations would be the most damaging.
2. NDA’s perpetuate the same power imbalance that permitted predation in the first place.
3. NDA’s are signed by/apply to the alleged offender & the alleged offended against. That means that NEITHER party is to engage in public discourse based on the agreed upon terms.
4. Whoever has the most money and power can use the NDA to enforce the silence and secrecy of the person with less money and power.
5. Victims most often sign NDA’s under duress. By the time the primary victim gets to mediation, the amount of personal and professional erosion is already egregious. It is nothing compared to what will come — but the victim does not have the privilege of foresight.
6. Upon settlement and signing an NDA the victim believes that the battle is over. She has no way of knowing that the ongoing price of an NDA is not personal privacy — but silence and secrecy — while the alleged offender is free to speak as his privilege, power, and platform permits.
7. The alleged victim CAN pursue legal action against the alleged offender for breach of the NDA. However, can and should are two different things. It should not be up to the victim to spend her limited resources to participate publicly in her own story. It shouldn’t cost that much to tell the truth.
An NDA is a highly effective tool to stop disclosure of the victim(s), clearly not to discourage the disclosure of the the alleged offender(s). An NDA effectively shuts down necessary dialogue. It is the “non-dialogical man” who seeks to keep the victim in silence and secrecy. The pregnant question is “Why?”
The only reasonable answer is that disclosure of the alleged victim would be damaging to the alleged offender. He cannot afford her dialogue, therefore he preemptively robs her of it and holds her word at ransom. These are power plays on the preying field.
We must level it.
I signed an NDA.