Review Blog

Sep 20 2019

Nobody's victim : fighting psychos, stalkers, pervs and trolls by Carrie Goldberg

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Virago Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780349010533. 295p
(Age: Adult-16+) Non-Fiction. Themes: Cybercrime, Privacy Laws. Nobody's Victim is to be applauded for the detailed explanation and examples of privacy and sexual cybercrimes from stalking and revenge porn to sextortion and framing someone for terrorist acts, and everything in between. Holistically, the author Carrie Goldberg is a beacon for anyone in any situation who has felt isolated - a friendless, powerless, maligned or misunderstood victim because persuasive, convincing sociopaths are not what they seem and our laws are inadequate to stop them.
Carrie Goldberg founded a victims' rights law firm to combat the way vindictive lovers, con men and sociopaths hide behind the lack of internet and social media regulation. Rather than a treatise, Goldberg uses a conversational style, peppered with cybercrime jargon unfamiliar to most, to track the growth of her legal advocacy beginning with her own personal victimization.
Goldberg candidly narrates her own date rape and another personal ordeal where her 'ex-boyfriend' threatened her, had her arrested on false charges, and sent nude photos without her consent to her friends and family. Her clients include: a Grindr user whose ex-boyfriend invited an incessant stream of strangers to have intercourse with him at home and at work; a girl manipulated into filming pornography; a school girl sexually assaulted by a classmate who was suspended for reporting it amongst others. To compliment these cautionary tales Carrie Goldberg cites judicial rulings and legislation, some of which led to the law making revenge porn illegal, earlier this year. Her extensive footnotes and her wide array of clients demonstrate that there is something universally amiss. Finally, we come to understand the knowledge, diligence and persistence required to meet a niche or rather neglected legal services demand and establish a successful business.
One of the biggest hurdles discussed is section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online providers from the content uploaded by users. It shielded companies like OK Cupid and Grindr from criminals destroying her life and the lives of so many of her clients. However, there are so many other nuances and barriers cleverly overcome by Goldberg's growing legal organization and network of change agents, explained here. Finally the #MeToo movement begins to balance the scales in the victim's favour.
Whilst details are confronting, she discusses the social attitudes that work in favour of the criminal against innocent victims. The jargon, breadth of human relationships and sex crimes are all likely too confronting for secondary school collections - certainly not teenagers under 16 years of age. On the other hand, children much younger are amongst the victims described.
Nobody's Victim could be a useful and compelling resource for those teaching Cyber Safety, Legal Studies, Philosophy in Action, Life Skills etc. Goldberg's Acknowledgements, Footnotes and Index will be invaluable when selecting appropriate case studies for class discussion.
Deborah Robins

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