July 30, 2021

HJ Talks About Abuse: Sexual Abuse in Massages

On this week's episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, Alan and Danielle are discussing abuse in massages.

This topic has been brought to light as recently, former Love Island Contestant, Shaughna Phillips, has bravely disclosed claims that her masseur touched her inappropriately.

Previously in 2020 Nicola McLean also disclosed how she was sexually assaulted by a masseur in her own home but couldn’t face reporting this to the police. After the assault she described how she suffered nightmares, anxiety and return of an eating disorder

Many of us have experienced going for a professional massage before and usually the occasion is comfortable and respectful. However, sadly, many people have not shared this same positive experience and have left feeling violated and uncomfortable with the situation they have been put in.

This week we discuss the issue of consent in the podcast. When you go to a professional masseuse, you are consenting to have them perform the desired treatment on you. However, how far does that consent go?  It can sometimes be unclear as to whether the actions of the masseuse are necessary to the treatment or over the line and inappropriate. The difficulty is, that without discussing the experience, many of us do not know what is inappropriate in that scenario. Would you expect your masseur to ask you to remove your underwear? Do we feel embarrassed to question the professional? Would you discuss the experience afterwards or feel embarrassed that you are questioning this experience?

As with many situations where abuse occurs, abusers rely upon their position of trust.

Over the years there have been many cases where convictions have been brought against masseurs for sexual assault. In March this year a Belfast masseur was jailed for sexual assault to two young female clients. There have been convictions against masseurs working in high establishment hotels where you would expect to feel safe.

We would encourage anyone who feels they have experienced sexual abuse to report their experience to the police.


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