The #metoo movement is on everyone’s mind. It is real and it is a problem that everyone in our society must take seriously, address and come up with a solution. One way to do this is to expose all of the ways that unwanted touching, unwanted sexual advances, and other types of violations are perpetrated in our society. A few years ago, a popular massage company that had aggressively expanded into Atlanta was in the news for instances of unwanted touching. The most common scenario: females being massaged by male employees of the massage company were being touched on parts of their body that were: (1) not what they wanted; (2) too intimate for a massage; (3) sexual in nature; and (4) beyond what they consented to when they agreed to the massage. The message that can be taken from this is: while this is the most common scenario, many types of unwanted sexual advances take place today. Many go unreported, others are reported but not taken seriously by the organization through which the sexual aggressor work, and still others are covered up by the organization (the very same organization that is responsible under the legal theories of agency, respondeat superior or joint venture for the acts of the perpetrator). While the act of unwanted touching is a crime in and of itself, putting someone in the position to commit this act (such as a massage therapist) when they are not sufficiently vetted and or trained, is an act of negligence on the part of the company and gives rise to a claim against that company for allowing this to happen.
Wide scale sexual abuse has been in the news seemingly all the time during this decade. The boy scouts, the catholic church, and national massage chains have all been associated with these claims of allowing sexual predators to operate within their organizations. However, the prevalence of these crimes is not restricted by any stretch of the imagination to these organizations. The following is an example of how unwanted touching can affect almost anyone in our society. How it can occur via a slippery slope and how the victim, many times remains quiet and “suffers in silence” because they somehow blame themselves, at least in part, for either allowing the unwanted touching to happen; or not stopping it once it happens; or not standing up for themselves and reporting it immediately; or not reporting it at all. Then again, this example exemplifies the suffering after the fact that is almost inevitable. The facts have been changed to protect the victim, but the moral of the situation is clear: This can happen to anyone, at any time. It does not matter if you are a woman, man, young boy, young girl, teenager, retiree, child, etc. It can happen to anyone and it can affect anyone. Just because we seemingly hear and read about woman and young boys being the victim of this crime, it is not limited to them. Here is one example that may be an eye-opener to many:
I took a vacation with my family. We were all excited to be headed to the beach and have a few well-deserved days off from the grind. My wife and I decided to spend the day together and we saw a popular massage place in the area. We wandered in and scheduled massages. They happily took us right away and we were in separate rooms. I lay on the massage table and the lady came in. I was getting a full body massage, and was naked under the sheet and towel on the massage table. I have gotten many massaged before and have always felt more comfortable removing all my clothes. Perhaps this was a mistake, I don’t know. The massage therapist came in and whispered “Hi Honey,” a bit unusual, but I did not think much of it as massage therapists usually talk very low and serene, as does everyone in a massage parlor, at least that is my impression. Was this a signal of things to come? I don’t know, perhaps it was, but I had no idea at the time.