Recently there seem to have been an increase in number of assaults reported on massage clients by their “therapist”. Whether this is the result of an actual increase in assaults or reporting of assaults that would previously have not been reported is unknown and to some extent a moot point anyway as even one sexual assault is one too many. The vast majority of these assaults are by male massage therapists on female clients.
Often when these types of assaults are posted on Facebook then there are comments made (invariably by males) that perhaps it is a vindictive claim. Maybe the client is after a complementary massage or she wanted a sensual massage and been turned down or she just has an axe to grind for whatever reason. There have been cases like this reported but in my view they are very very much the exception.
How to reduce the chance of being assaulted
Please note: this is not intended to imply that there is any blame to be attached to a victim because they should have taken more actions to avoid being assaulted. If you are assaulted on a massage table then there is only one person to blame and obviously that is the person giving the massage.
However if you don’t have a recommendation (or the recommended therapist is not available at time the suits you) then make sure that you book with a therapist who is an accredited member of a professional association. Doesn’t mean that you will be 100% safe but the chances of something untoward happening during your massage will be less than if you book a massage based on a Craiglist or Gumtree ad.
(NB. I am a member of Australasian Traditional Medicine Society, ATMS)
Over the years, several women who are on their own in their homes have done this when I have arrived. Any legitimate therapist will not have any issue with you doing this.
On my table, it is up to you what you wear and what you don’t wear. Personally I prefer clients to disrobe as I work with oil on the skin and I will work around whatever clothes you want to keep on.
Remember, it is your massage. You are in always charge and you can terminate a session at any time. Never fail to let a therapist know if you are uncomfortable about any aspect of the massage. From anecdotes, I’ve heard that women have felt that because the therapist is the “expert” then they should accept that and not question what is happening the massage. This is not right. A professional therapist wants you to be comfortable at all times and if something is bothering you then please please please speak up (or finish the session).
Many women who have been assaulted have reported that they know what is happening is wrong but because of the vulnerable nature of the position they are in then they are just too scared to say anything. I’m not sure I can offer any guidance on this score, being aware that it happens maybe might make it slightly easier to speak up, I don’t know. Again it’s probably best to avoid being in a situation where you are alone with the therapist – with other people being around then it may make it easier for you to act on the fact that what is happening is wrong.
If you are reading this article and are thinking of booking a massage with me, hopefully this has not put you off. I recognise that there is a degree of irony as part of my message is don’t be alone with a stranger yet that is exactly what a significant proportion of my (female) clients do.
If you have any questions or concerns then please do not hesitate to contact me.