Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) are a separate set of vessels in the anchorage of contracts law. The cargo they once protected consists of trade secrets, inventions and proprietary information. But today they have broken away from their moorings. They now stow away corporate miscreants from accountability and the consequences of their actions. One consequence of this drift is that several workspaces don’t seem to work for women anymore. In recent times, NDAs have been used to protect the reputation of companies in instances when sexual harassment and sexual assault have been alleged, shielding perpetrators and used to gag victims into silence and stop them from discussing abuse – even with their families – and from warning others about the alleged perpetrator.

Nearly 60 million Americans are subject to obligatory arbitration agreements which form part of the contract of employment which they are asked to agree to when they were hired. These agreements compel employees to address claims through a private arbiter rather than in court and invariably keep victims in the dark about prior harassment claims, shield serial abusers, and hide sexual harassment from public scrutiny. Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant Zelda Perkins has called on the UK government to urgently ban the use of NDAs in the workplace following the Sir Philip Green saga. Perkins, the most eminent example of an individual challenging NDAs in the workplace argues that the debate surrounding Green highlights the need for such vessels to be outlawed. Julie MacFarlane, a law professor at the University of Windsor in May 2018, criticized her employer for their silence around malefactors who create and sustain a climate of intimidation and fear among faculty and students. Many of whom cultivate inappropriate friendships with some while expressing extreme and unmotivated hostility towards others. One hundred and fifty-six women all stated that they were abused by the same gentleman: former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

The MeToo movement has united all women but Sean Penn believes that it is shouldered by a receptacle of salaciousness. He is fearful of the emergence of a social-media-jury that can convict anyone without due process. He agrees that very serious changes are needed to improve life for women, homosexuals, and immigrants.

The suffering of women is as old as the hills.

Catalina Laza is buried beneath 6m of concrete in the Cristóbal Colón necropolis in Havana. Her sin was in wanting a divorce to love Juan Pedro Baró. Catalina lived with the contempt of a bourgeois society that strongly criticized her for falling in love being married. Her husband, Pedro Estevez Abreu was First Vice President of Cuba. At that time, divorce was not permissible. He was unwilling to separate from her or to break it off by mutual agreement. What ensued was a scandal. Havana high society was appalled. She ran away to Paris with Juan Baro and they toured Europe in disguise and under pseudonyms. The heart of the Pope moved with pity for them and in a gesture of grace he annulled Catalina’s previous marriage. They were married in France and they later returned to Cuba. During a concert at the National Theatre, when Catalina and Juan Pedro arrived, patrons got up from their seats and departed. The orchestra continued playing for the two lovers. At the end of the concert, Catalina shed off her jewels and threw them on stage to the musicians, in a gesture of loving gratitude. The French glass maker René Lalique worked on the couple’s new home- Casa de la Amistad, in Havana. The exterior in Italian Renaissance style was hewn from pink Italian marble and embellished with yellow sand from the Nile while the interior was done in decadent art deco. When Catalina died René Lalique choose Bergamo marble and onyx to fashion a luxurious minimalist’s cupula with a contrasting black granite door engraved with two praying angels to be her vault of eternal rest. Within its walls she lays entombed with all of her jewellery- on and around her; and resting on her chest is a bouquet of flowers created with her name and executed with precious stones. Ten years after her death Juan Baró died. He stipulated that he should be buried upright- standing in front of her in a column to watch over the eternal dream of his beloved Catalina.

Not far from Catalina’s sepulchre is the tomb of Amelia Goyri de Adot a new world Saint. Frida Kahlo suffered a different plight. Frida was distressed by her husband’s affair with her younger sister Cristina. Frida’s retribution was in Leon Trotsky- the Russian revolutionary who had come to live with her and her husband as a political refugee in Mexico having been expelled from the Soviet Union by Josef Stalin. Frida’s disloyal husband Diego was furious when he discovered Frida’s affair with Trotsky. Especially since Frida rendezvoused with Trotsky at the house of her sister- Cristina Kahlo- a house which Diego bought for Cristina.

Whether they are beatified or blameworthy- women continue to experience veils of violence.

The word virtue derives from the Latin root ‘vir’, for man. At first, virtue meant manliness. Over time it strangely settled into a sense of virginity. It is bizarre that we expect Virtue from all women but we have no equal expectation of ourselves as men.