Hacking explicit selfies, distributing boudoir videos without permission, turning Photoshopping into acts of perversion: the naked truth takes on a whole new, unsettling meaning in the digital era. And New York attorney Carrie Goldberg, a pioneer in the field of sexual privacy, is doing something about it. Recently featured in The New Yorker and Teen Vogue discussing nonconsensual pornography, commonly known as revenge porn, she comes to Whitman College on April 3 to discuss her work, the cyber civil rights initiative and the links between revenge porn and domestic violence. Goldberg offers a preview of some of her talk, which is sponsored by the Whitman Events Board, Whitman College Technology Services, Department of Sociology, the pre-law advising program, the Dean of Students Office and the Student Engagement Center.
What are three fundamental pieces of advice you would give to someone who is worried about being a victim of revenge porn?
1. A lot of victim-blamers will cry, "Just don't take naked pictures at all!" And, frankly, that is an unrealistic and willfully obtuse attitude to cling on to when people are expressing themselves in every other way through technology and social media. If your sexual privacy is violated by someone you trust, the burden of shame and wrongdoing falls squarely on their shoulders.
2. The trend of change is on your side. The fact that 35 states and Washington, D.C., have non-consensual pornography laws criminalizing the act of sharing a person's sexual photos without their consent demonstrates the public's increasing outrage about the violation of sexual privacy. Now we just need those laws to be used and enforced. On an ethical level, most people understand that the distribution of private, intimate photos shouldn't be tolerated.
3. We are all a moment away from crossing paths with a psycho hell-bent on taking us down. Nobody should feel smug about having never been the target of revenge porn or sextortion. We have clients who have never even taken a naked picture before but were, for instance, filmed without their consent or knowledge, upskirted, Photoshopped on to a porn star's body, or even, sadly, recorded while being sexually assaulted. It's on all of us to recognize the value of sexual privacy, because we all have something we don't want on the first page of our Google results.
Whitman hosts an array of guest speakers and educators. Many also offer on-campus workshops or engage with students in the classroom. We ask them to give us a brief insight into their area of expertise. For more information on upcoming events at Whitman, go online to the campus calendar.