Attorney Carrie Goldberg’s book, released in August of this year, is visually eye-catching to say the least. Entitled, “Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls,” the bright pink cover is emblazoned by a vivid, lipstick-smeared ‘X.’ The story, as told on the inside jacket, follows Goldberg, “on the front lines of the war against sexual violence and privacy violations, as her law firm sues the hell out of tech companies, schools, and sexual predators.”
It is the essence of that very story that Goldberg will be speaking about on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. when she visits the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts as part of the Open VISIONS Forum and Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lectureship, in affiliation with the Carl & Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies. Her talk, “Demanding Justice for Victims: From Cyber Crimes to Federal Courts,” will address topics of, “consent, the spread of online harassment and sextortion, and…the solutions within reach, including how each of us can protect ourselves and others,” as stated by the event page on the Quick Center’s website. In anticipation of her lecture, Goldberg took time to speak with The Mirror over the phone about the work her law firm does and details about her new book.
Goldberg first commented on the tone of her online and writing voice with which her readers are addressed and which is reflected in the title of her book. She also brought up the language used on the website of her firm, C.A. Goldberg Victims’ Rights Law Firm, revealing that using more colloquial language was a pointedly strategic choice.
“When I started my law firm, I wanted to evoke messaging that I felt would capture the tone of the law firm but also would speak directly to our clients,” Goldberg said. Indeed, the language is direct and to-the-point; one of the first main headers a viewer sees on the site boldly states in all capitals, “Our clients aren’t fragile like a flower. They’re fragile like a bomb! Welcome to our firm!” There are various swear words included throughout the homepage as well, which does not necessarily conform to language that would be considered standard for a law firm. For Goldberg, the choices are purposeful, and can act as a kind of filtering method to determine which clients are best fit for the work her firm does and which are put off by how she communicates.
“So many of us who work here, myself included, have been in our clients’ shoes where they’ve been a victim of sexual violence or sexual privacy violation,” said Goldberg. “We want to get off on the right foot and let them know that we get it.”
This purpose, which stems from Goldberg’s own personal experience with sexual assault and online harrassment, is what she cites as the reason for her firm’s very existence, a sentiment that resonates throughout her book as well. By the second page of “Nobody’s Victim,” Goldberg has already introduced this detail to the reader, stating that she encounters her clients “when they are desperate, traumatized, even suicidal, which is exactly what these offenders want. The attacks are meant to crush your soul. I know because it’s happened to me.”
“I’m always drawing upon that feeling of being a victim and not knowing what to do, or who to trust, or how to get help or how to get yourself out of a frightening situation. And what I went through with my abusive ex was life-altering, and I became a different person from the process,” said Goldberg. She stands by the fact that had she not been in her clients’ place before herself, she “probably wouldn’t have the insight or the knowledge to guide clients through the process of being stalked or harrassed or being a victim of sexual violence.”
Highlighted both in the book and over the phone was Goldberg’s three pieces of advice for potential victims of the kind of violent online attacks she defends against. First and foremost for students in particular: get the Title IX office at your school involved. Title IX is a section of the Education Amendments of 1972, and states that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance,” as quoted on Know Your IX’s website. The law has been interpreted more broadly since it was first enacted to protect against those who are victims of sexual harassment or violence, requiring federally-funded schools to offer them assistance.
She also strongly urges victims to save every piece of online evidence they can. “There’s often a knee-jerk reaction that if you’re getting any scary or humiliating communications, you just want them out of sight,” Goldberg said. But that evidence, as she points out, could be the key difference between successfully getting a restraining order issued and a victim being turned away by the police.
Finally, Goldberg stresses how important it is for her clients to “take a deep breath and know that they’re not alone.” She explains, “We have an entire thirteen-person law firm that’s completely dedicated to people who have been attacked or who are under attack. There is help out there.”
Visit The Mirror’s website after Thursday, Nov. 14 to read the full feature on Goldberg’s lecture.