Friday, October 19, 2018

Time to ban gag clauses

Yesterday, we learned that the National Party was arseholes all the way down. They'd known about bullying and sexual harassment by Jami-Lee Ross for years, and their response had been to sit on it, cover it up, and ultimately try and use it as leverage in their internal political squabbles rather than doing the decent thing and getting an arsehole harasser out of their party. And yesterday afternoon, we learned they'd gone further, explicitly gagging Ross' victims to keep them silent. Its a story we've seen time and again from overseas, where gag orders are used to silence victims and allow their abusers to keep on victimising. But we've also seen the solution: ban them. California for example prohibits confidentiality clauses in civil settlements for sexual assault. And just a few months ago, they went further, banning them in sexual harassment cases. Settlements can be used to protect victims, but never to silence them.

Isn't it time New Zealand, as a progressive country, followed suit?