Nothing is quite as relaxing as a really excellent massage. But sometimes sexual assault happens during a massage. The victim can be either the massage client or the massage therapist.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to pick out ahead of time who to avoid, but there are a couple of things you can do. First, read the online reviews. It is not necessarily the case that a victim will disclose abuse in that forum, but it is worth checking. Second, for Oklahoma, you can check for criminal records by entering a name at ODCR.com. Certain facilities have been sued for perceived structural problems that allow sexual assaults during massage.
If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation during a massage, it can be very difficult to alter course. We’ve all learned about “fight or flight” as the brain/body reaction to a perceived threat. In reality, there is another reaction also – “freeze.” So, it is not uncommon to “freeze” when a situation has taken a turn for the worse. Your brain may try to minimize the perceived threat – that touch was just an accident or that did not just happen. Those experiencing sexual assault in massage may act as if nothing happened – going through the motions of a “normal” massage to avoid acknowledging what has happened. Some sex assault victims even leave a tip!
Knowing that your brain may react this way can hep you be more pro-active in a threatening situation. Stating out loud that you are uncomfortable may actually be all you have to do. If that does not work, stop the therapy. Both actions, however, require that you overcome a normal response of freezing.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault during a massage or other body therapy work, there are several things you should know. Oklahoma law, as of 2017, requires that massage therapists carry insurance for the protection of clients. This same law also requires therapists have a significant number of educational hours. Although many therapists were “grandfathered” in, this requirement may eventually help weed out problematic therapists. New laws go into effect in November 2019.
Sexual touch during massage therapy is never acceptable. It is a crime. But victims also have the right to sue perpetrators and sometimes the spa. If you have been the victim of a sexual assault during massage, contact Koller Trial Law. We can explain your options in a free consultation.