In November 1997, I signed a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) for past sexual abuse during my childhood. Although it has been more than 25 years since my civil court case, and my abuser has since died, when I went to have my NDA lifted in the BC courts in 2018, the judge denied my request. The judge determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove psychological damage from the NDA. After I lost my case in 2018, I had to go to the hospital as I became suicidal. Thankfully, I received help for my diagnosis of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for past childhood sexual abuse. Although the psychiatric community has learned quite a lot about the long term effects of childhood sexual abuse, it is obvious that the judges and the legal community still remain very, very, very ignorant about the damage that sexual abuse does to a child’s body and mind. I often ask myself: why does the legal system, as well as many of our institutions, continue to be so ignorant? And the answer is really very simple: it is because, over and over again, the legal system continues to protect abusers, and especially in the case of incest, or sexual abuse within the home. In fact, I don’t need to prove that abusers are protected. In fact, I have literal physical evidence that abusers are protected in the form of my Nondisclosure Agreement from 1997, and that a quarter of a century later, I still cannot speak a great deal of truth about my own childhood. The 5th commandment of “Honor thy Father and Mother”, as Alice Miller so famously argues in her book THE BODY NEVER LIES, still remains sacrosanct, no matter what your father and mother might do to you. And this 5th commandment still deeply influences our culture when it comes to speaking out about abuse, as many of our authority figures in employment, sports, volunteer organizations, in a sense, become parental figures against whom we must not question or speak out against. As a result, abusers remain protected, and will remain so, until laws in Canada (as well as other nations of the world) stop protecting them in the form of secret Nondisclosure Agreements. The abuse that happened to me as a child has long been over, and I have processed my abuse through a long-term relationship with a wonderful therapist who has had a 40 year long career of helping people recover from childhood sexual abuse. And I will continue to go to therapy, take my medication, and take care of myself as I am aware that the CPTSD diagnosis is never going away. Science has learned so much about the devastating and lifelong effects of sexual abuse on a child’s nervous system. I have learned that I must accept that as part of my fate. However, what I do NOT accept is the fact that the legal system itself has been the far greater abuser in my life.
Indeed, had there not been the Nondisclosure Agreement in my case in 1997, then my abuser might have had to confront their own issues, and seek therapy (perhaps even for their own childhood sexual abuse). Every single human being on the planet must acknowledge the truth about ourselves in order to heal. The legal system allowed my abuser to bypass that very important process, as well as abdicate their fiduciary duty as a parent, with their power and their wealth. And even though my abuser has been dead for several years, the legacy of their abuse continues to be upheld by the legal system in the form of the NDA. The lie, therefore, is protected. As a result, my entire family is affected and still continues to be abused by a lie that the legal system refuses to face.
And that lie is, of course, that sexual abuse does happen to children in families. As a result, no child is safe in this world as long as the legal system continues to uphold what is, in fact, possibly one of the greatest evils we know: the abuse of children. It is very clear that the abuse of children is a very large problem in our world, no matter the country. Children lack so many of the very basic human rights, and continue to be starved, killed, or trafficked every single day. I consider my Nondisclosure Agreement to be concrete evidence of ongoing extermination of children in this world. And in many ways, the NDA and the legal system are far greater abusers than my own individual abuser was. Therefore, until Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) are made illegal in Canada, and especially in the cases of childhood sexual assault, Canada remains complicit in the ongoing abuse and deaths of children in our world, as far as I‘m concerned.