#MeToo – My Story of Sexual Harassment

In one of my first “real” jobs out of college, an older, male colleague sexually harassed me.

He worked in a different department than me. We had little reason to interact. Yet, for a period of time, I would receive daily emails from him to go out to lunch. At first, the invitations seemed innocuous. I politely declined. Over time, however, the invitations felt more forcefully flirtatious. After a period of several weeks of repeated, polite declines he didn’t seem to get the hint – I wasn’t interested.

I started to make excuses: “My ‘boyfriend’ wouldn’t like it if we went out to lunch” – no boyfriend existed. “I have too much work to do” – I didn’t. “I already made plans to go out to lunch with X” – I hadn’t. Still, he persisted. He said he would treat me better than my “boyfriend” – though I had provided no details about our “relationship.” He said how important I must be to my department and how he’d love to sweep me off my feet, away from my duties – I wouldn’t respond. And whenever I had plans with someone else for lunch, he would beg for a chance to be one of my “lunch dates” because I wouldn’t regret it. I regretted every email he sent me. Continue reading

Stephanie Sandler by Stephanie Sandler
December 2, 2017

Massage Envy Faces Sexual Assault Claims From More Than 180 Women

massage envy spa sexual assault allegationsMassages are meant to be a relaxing way to release tension and stress from the body. And for many, the service of a skilled massage therapist can be a blessing. But what happens when a massage turns into something else—something uninvited?

This is the case for popular massage franchise Massage Envy, who is at the root of over 180 sexual assault claims by female clients. The billion-dollar spa chain also faces allegations that massage assault claims were mishandled and in some cases even ignored.

Massage Envy spas adopt a business model similar to that of a fast food chain, providing timely, affordable service for paying customers by staffing massage therapists and managers by the numbers. With this quick pace of business, Massage Envy appears to have sacrificed hiring standards to meet demands. The result is a combination of newly graduated massage therapists often working under inexperienced managers, an atmosphere that has proven unsafe for many vulnerable clients. Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
November 28, 2017

The Weinstein Scandal: Breaking the Silence Over Sexual Assault

Two decades ago, in what was supposed to be a business breakfast meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein told actress Ashley Judd to meet him in his room. Appearing in a bathrobe, he told her that she could watch him shower and asked her if he could give her a massage.

On October 5, 2017, The New York Times publicly announced that it found three decades worth of other undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein. The allegations asserted that Mr. Weinstein used his status as a top Hollywood producer to sexually harass, assault, oppress, and manipulate women such as Ms. Judd. For thirty years, Mr. Weinstein had managed to cover up an abundance of dirt; his sexual misconduct was documented in emails, legal records, interviews with current and former employees, interviews with film industry workers and internal documents from Mr. Weinstein’s businesses, Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Continue reading

Teri Gibbs by Teri Gibbs
October 18, 2017

What The Taylor Swift Lawsuit Means for You

Taylor Swift often receives a lot of criticism in the media. She dates too many guys or she’s not as good as Beyoncé – but by far Swift critics tend to chide her the most for her delayed responses to feminist issues, including sexual assault.

Now, Swift has spoken out about her own sexual assault. In 2013, radio DJ David Mueller allegedly lifted Swift’s dress and groped her during a photo op. Swift reported Mueller’s behavior to Mueller’s boss. In response, the radio station terminated Mueller. Two years later, Mueller sued Swift for $3 million, claiming her allegation cost him his $150,000 job at the radio station.

Faced with a lawsuit for reporting Mueller, Swift counter-sued Mueller for assault and battery. Continue reading

Stephanie Sandler by Stephanie Sandler
August 17, 2017

What You Need to Know About Uber & Lyft Sexual Assaults

Updated August 3, 2017.

In March of 2016 we wrote a post about the dangers of using a ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

Later in April 2016, a district attorney in San Francisco sued Uber for falsely claiming they had used “the most comprehensive screening of would-be drivers available.” It was later revealed that these screenings did not include fingerprinting for past convictions, and Uber settled the case for $10,000,000.

Update: October 2017

Be aware that there are general personal injury lawyers claiming to assist sexual assault victims who have little to no experience in this field of law. Our firm founder has released the following statement: “Sexual assault is not as common as a car accident, and the treatment and procedure required to begin healing and become a survivor of a sexual assault varies for each individual. If someone has been sexually assaulted whether by an Uber or Lyft driver, or otherwise, I encourage them to speak with a lawyer who specifically handles this area of law.”

Uber’s code of conduct at the time included the language: “Furthermore, commenting on appearance, asking overly personal questions and making unwanted physical contact is inappropriate.” Uber and Lyft have both come under scrutiny for their drivers who have committed violent acts or sexual assault. Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
July 12, 2017

Jessica Pride at the 18th Annual Tea & Tonic Fundraiser Featuring Terry Crews

As the event co-chair, Jessica Pride will be amongst several sponsors, volunteers and community leaders at the Center for Community Solutions San Diego’s (CCSSD) 18th annual Tea & Tonic. The fundraising event celebrates all those committed to supporting the CCSSD’s mission to end relationship violence by being a catalyst for caring communities and social justice. The CCSSD welcomes celebrity keynote speaker Terry Crews, who is known for his action and comedic movie roles in films such as Everybody Hates Chris and White Chicks.

Jessica maintains a key role in helping to organize the Tea & Tonic fundraising event and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the CCSSD.

Jessica (R) and friend Ms. McCord at last year’s Tea & Tonic.

Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
March 24, 2017

When A Massage Becomes An Assault

Massages are meant to be a soothing relaxation technique to relieve tension or stress – but what happens when they become something else? Something dark and uninvited?

If you’ve trusted in a professional massage therapist, masseuse or spa only to have that trust completely violated, it’s important to know that it is not your fault. While it is easy and far too common for victims of sexual assault to look inward and shoulder the blame, you are not guilty for what has happened to you. You did not ask to be abused.

The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

You are not alone.

Many may feel confused about the difference between appropriate and inappropriate conduct during massage therapy, and yet it is critical for identifying abuse when it happens. Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
March 15, 2017

Powerful ‘It’s on Us’ Video Reveals How We Unintentionally Teach Rape Culture

Chances are good that, if you’re a girl, you got picked on by a boy during your school years. Maybe your hair was pulled or you got pushed, teased or ganged up on during recess. Possibly even worse things happened, like being bullied about your body, having your clothes messed with or your body touched in a way that made you uncomfortable.

Adults often have a set of stock phrases to respond to children’s complaints about this kind of behavior. They say things meant to reframe the incident, such as “he’s just picking on you because he likes you” or “boys will be boys.” Rather than teaching the female child that she gets to set the boundaries on how she is treated, they teach her to regard her body and her girlhood as a liability, an object that others are allowed to treat however they want. Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
December 12, 2016

Safety For Undocumented Victims Of Sexual Assault

human rightsIn all the controversial arguments that surround the issue of undocumented immigration, it is easy to forget one crucial truth: undocumented immigrants are people who live with constant fear.

When a person chooses to leave their native country for the United States without going through proper procedure, their choice is usually made under duress. Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
December 9, 2016

Sexual Assault on College Campuses

The conversation about sexual assault on college campuses has grown widespread in the aftermath of the Brock Turner rape case at Stanford University where the victim’s powerful letter captured the nation’s attention. Since the case’s July 2016 outcome, school administrators and safety officials feel greater urgency to inform the public about how they intend to keep students safe during the school year.

Stay safe on college campusSexual Assault on College Campuses

It’s been speculated that United States college campuses grossly under report the incidence of sexual assault that happens on school grounds. A possible reason for the unreported assault: schools fear that full reporting of these incidents are a negative reflection of their campuses, which would cause their application numbers to fall. Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
November 9, 2016