Who’s to blame for keeping Time’s #MeToo ‘silence breakers’ silent? Elizabeth C. Tippett

Daedalus Magazine

Elizabeth C. Tippett, University of Oregon:

Time magazine just named the #MeToo movement its “person” of the year, recognizing the women and men who raised their voices against abuses of power as the “silence breakers.”

For decades, victims of sexual harassment have remained silent about their experiences. The emergence of the #MeToo movement in the aftermath of the scandal surrounding movie mogul Harvey Weinstein raises larger questions about whether employers are partly to blame for their silence, particularly through the use of nondisclosure agreements.

Art: SMC

Such contracts, written to keep details of business practices or a settlement confidential, are now in the sights of lawmakers. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Washington are all considering bills that would declare such provisions unenforceable.

Are confidentiality clauses to blame for all those years of silence? And will legal changes offer victims more freedom in deciding whether to speak…

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