Massage Therapist Sexual Assault


Massage therapist sexual assault is a violation of trust

Unfortunately, while massages can be one of the best forms of self-care relaxation, they can also form the perfect conditions for sexual assault to occur.  Massages usually occur in small, dark rooms, where a has reduced visibility and mobility.  The only people in the room are the massage therapist (often a stranger) and the client.  The client is usually mostly unclothed.  The only covering a client has is a thin sheet.  There are no witnesses or cameras, so what happens in the room will largely boil down to the client’s story versus the massage therapist’s story.  To get a massage is to put yourself in an incredibly vulnerable position, requiring you to place a large amount of trust in the massage therapist.

Warning signs to recognize during massages

The line between appropriate touching and non-appropriate touching during a massage can sometimes be blurred, especially for people who do not get massages often.  Massage therapy clients may not know what to expect, so may be reluctant to speak up when something seems wrong.  Nevertheless, there are some clear prohibited behaviors and other types of behavior that should put you on your guard, that we discuss more here.

No reaction is “right” or “wrong”

People have all different kinds of reactions to massage sexual assaults–no reaction is “right” or “wrong,” or “normal” or “abnormal.”  For example, victims will often experience the “freeze response.”  During the freeze response, they freeze or even dissociate during the abuse, due to shock, embarrassment, confusion, or fear.  Some victims do not report the assault right away because they worry they won’t be believed.  Others do not report because they question whether they did something wrong.  Let’s be clear though–sexual touching by a massage therapist during a massage is never ok, and it is never the patient’s fault.

Negligent hiring and training

Sexual abuse by massage therapists occurs all too often, even at popular national chains like Massage Envy.  Often, massage spas do not adequately screen or train their massage therapists before allowing them to work with clients.  They also may not have appropriate policies and safeguards in place to deter abusive conduct and protect clients.

We can help.

At Dumas & Vaughn, we have handled many massage therapist sexual abuse cases and achieved successful results and monetary compensation for our clients.  We are skilled at handling investigations into massage therapist sexual abuse cases and talking our clients through their various options, from reporting the misconduct to licensing boards, reporting to the police, and bringing a civil claim.

If you been the victim of sexual abuse by a massage therapist, and would like to discuss your legal options, please contact us for a free consultation.  All communications are completely confidential.  We will handle your inquiry with compassion and sensitivity.  As a boutique law firm in the Pacific NW, we maintain a manageable caseload so that we can provide personalized, detailed attention to each case and client.

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