Turning The Page

Week beginning 26th May

Part 2

My client is a victim. No amount of “justice” could ever undo the emotional distress, the fear, the strain on personal relationships, the lack of sleep and the unjustified guilt X has felt recently. There are no stones I could throw at the cyber giants that would make them disappear and the effects of their existence turn into dust. Whatever happens, my client is and will always be a victim. Because for whatever reason, somebody got angry at her and that somebody had at their fingertips a simple way to get disproportionate revenge – a way that would mean they would never be sanctioned for the damage caused.


The letters worked. The images are gone from the Internet.

Whilst that felt like an enormous victory and we were both overcome with pride and relief, it’s hardly like the tables have been turned and we’ve “won”, really. I still don’t understand why revenge porn is legal – in fact it’s so legal it’s a very much alive and kicking industry, in which the actors are essentially entrepreneurs. They sit at their normal computers eating their normal dinners wearing their normal clothes whilst monetising the destruction of strangers’ lives.

In a final note from me, I want to focus for a moment on the victims. I think through a lot of this I made a classic lawyer-esque move: in picturing the legal remedies possible (or not possible) for X, the real-time suffering they were going through escaped me to a certain extent. And in a way, it’s important for lawyers to do that. It’s how family lawyers go home to their children without crying every night after having spent the day prosecuting paedophiles, and how the defenders of wife-beaters don’t question their morals every 30 seconds. If we didn’t focus on the law, we’d never be of any use.

But I also think that as indifferent as I could become to reading court bundles full of explicit details of a child abuse case that put me off of food for 24 hours, there’s a tiny part of every lawyer that never goes away. It’s the part of our past in which we wanted to protect vulnerable people, and stand up for what was right and make a change. Even if over time you decide you want to become a corporate lawyer, as I want to, it’s situations like X’s that remind me that there is a balance that needs to be reached between being a lawyer and just being a normal woman. Last week I said to X (I quote): what do you want, just everything taken down and then forget it, or do you want to take legal action? And pointed out that compensation could eventually come into play. X said this:


And then I remembered that for X, the law could not be less important.