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The Massage

I went for a massage this evening and … I think I was sexually assaulted.

I’d had this massage therapist before, and he’d always been professional. I mentioned that I had some compression in my low spine, so it made sense for him to be working that area. It was an excellent glute massage. I did notice that the sheet seemed to be slipping down quite far, and I know it’s not supposed to. Every now and then he’d adjust it, but half of my butt was uncovered most of the time, and it’s never been before in any other massage. There were a few strokes that heightened my awareness; trailing fingers that seemed to duck into my bum crack. Whoa, that doesn’t feel right! Then I excused it, thinking it must be tricky to ensure your fingers aren’t doing random things when you’re listening so deeply with your hands.

Then he moved on to the legs; I’m still laying face down. Wow, those fingers went up the inner thigh so high. And I don’t know why. They didn’t feel like they were massaging healing fingers, they felt like fingers that were trying to be sexy. They were unwelcome fingers. I wanted to say something, but hesitated. Was I being prudish? Surely he’s just doing his job. And then I started to think about all the women I know who’ve had scenarios where something sexual happened and they didn’t stop it. How I’d judged them. Listened empathetically outwardly, but judged harshly. Why wouldn’t you just say no? I always thought to myself. It’s not hard. Just stand up for your self. I’ve had men ask, whether it be vocally or with their gestures, and I’ve been able to say no. What’s the big deal? I hated that they were weak.

I rolled over onto my back and he continued with the legs. I should point out here that I was not wearing any undergarments. This had never been an issue before. I know how draping works, how the sheet is supposed to get tucked. But this time the sheet was not tucked. I could tell that half of my pubic region was exposed. He seemed to feel around for my hip bone, then went in slightly and pressed down. Maybe an important nerve, but my brain responded to that as an erogenous zone. His fingers then delicately glided down at the edge of my pubic hair. He worked the legs, sometimes feeling like a massage, sometimes the fingertips coming up so high they almost touched my labia. Almost. I specify almost because this is what I was deciding would be my line. If he entered me with his fingers, I’d say something. I hated myself for that line being so fucking far. Why not just speak up now? All I’d have to say is, hey, that’s making me uncomfortable. Can you please stick to the outer part of the leg? But I kept silent. I realized throughout this that my hands were gripping the sheets in tight fists. I was the furthest thing from relaxed. I’d become aware that I’d paid in advance because I was the last appointment of the evening. I was hoping like hell that the receptionist was still in the building.

He moved on to the neck and chest area. I told myself I should be safe here. I remember filling out a form once because I needed massage on my chest, a mammary massage. You have to sign consent first. He wouldn’t dare. The sheet was put at the appropriate level, thank god. He worked my neck. Which was a lot more tense than when I went in. The shoulders, down the arms, but it seemed like his thumbs kept grazing my breasts. Why didn’t he take the arms out from under the covers? Isn’t that what they’d usually do? Then you wouldn’t accidentally be bumping against breasts. He did one stroke, flat hand, down between my breasts that did feel massage-like, but still not necessary. What’s one stroke accomplishing? He tickled around my shoulder and upper chest after that for a full minute. I couldn’t figure out if he was just wasting time or trying to get the nerve up to put his hands full on my breasts, which I decided I would punch him for. All through this he spoke very professionally. Which was the confusing bit. It kept me guessing if I was being overly sensitive. I like my massages deep and even when painful I breathe through, trusting that the RMT knows what’s best. I try to take it like a champ to reap the benefits. That attitude was getting me into trouble here. It wasn’t a “take it like a champ” moment. I knew it. But didn’t have the guts to say anything.

As I stepped out of the massage room, he approached me with a form to sign. “For the glute massage,” he said, “please sign here and here. I’m sorry, I know I should have had you do this first.” Yes. Not only do I sign stuff first for that kind of sensitive touch, but it’s something that’s discussed and there’s an understanding about why it’s happening first as well. And it’s because I want it. It’s not meant to be a surprise. Every vibration told me not to sign. I took that pen and signed. I had no idea how to navigate that conversation. I really didn’t want to. I just wanted to get out of there and be sure to never have him as my RMT ever again. This signing afterwards felt like him covering his ass in case I got bold enough to speak. He could say, “look she signed to say it was alright.”

I got home and told my husband the whole thing. He was very empathetic and gave me cuddles and I felt soothed…to a point. He’s sleeping right now and I snuck to the computer to get this out of me because I keep feeling that touch. And what’s more, I understand my sisters who didn’t say no. I feel ashamed that I judged. I’m so sorry beautiful souls. I didn’t know.

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