Victims Forum

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.

To purchase tickets, contact Kimberly Jenks at kjenks@ccssd.org or call (858) 272-5777.

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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. The following guidelines can help clarify the difference between appropriate behavior and abuse during a massage. This information can be educational and lead to prevention by asking your massage therapist prior to a session, or hope and healing if you are a survivor of such an occurrence.

It’s Your Right

As with any other wellness or spa treatment, there are boundaries, ethics and normally a zero-tolerance policy associated with massage services. Unfortunately, there are still those who use their authority, position and access to privileged information to prey upon people in such a vulnerable state.

These guidelines can help you understand what appropriate behavior is expected of a massage therapist or masseuse when receiving a massage, as well as your rights and what to do if a situation becomes uncomfortable.

Communication

Your masseuse or therapist should communicate the process clearly and effectively. Do you fully understand the procedure that’s been described to you? If you have questions, be sure to ask them. It is your right to be informed of what exactly will be taking place during the massage.

Permission

There are different types of massages – Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, etc. and each kind entails a variety of movements and practices. If at any time during your massage process you feel uncomfortable, you can ask the therapist to explain what he or she is doing, or simply ask them to stop the action. You are under no obligation to allow the therapist to perform a technique if it makes you experience pain, embarrassment or discomfort. You are in charge of your body, and you are entitled to set boundaries.

Comfort Level

A massage is intended to release tension, improve mobility and function as well as promote relaxation. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, you can choose to end the massage. Deciding what articles of clothing to leave on as well which body parts you do not want touched are your personal preference, and it is your right to be feel comfortable throughout the entire massage.

Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, you are allowed to express yourself and ask questions. Specifically, if you have never received a massage and don’t fully know what to expect, asking questions can greatly help ensure your safety and comfort level.

Hope and Healing After Massage Therapy Assault

If you are a survivor of sexual assault by a massage therapist, we at Pride Law Firm offer our sincerest empathy for what you have gone through. While we cannot begin to understand, or put into words what you are feeling and have endured, we want you to know that Jessica Pride and the Pride Law Firm are here for you.

There is hope. As you begin the healing process, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You can let go of guilt and shame
  • You can heal from emotional wounds
  • You can have a healthy relationship with your body
  • You can be proactive and process the trauma
  • You can move on with your life and feel like yourself again

Seeking Justice 

In recent events, an unlicensed masseuse is being charged with the molestation of a thirteen-year-old girl at a Chula Vista, CA massage parlor. Jessica Pride is representing the victim.

You do not have to tolerate sexual assault from a masseuse, or anyone else. And, most importantly, you do not have to fight such a difficult battle alone. Jessica Pride and the Pride Law Firm offer a no-cost, no-obligation and 100% confidential consultation.  Call us today at 619-995-6829 to learn about your rights, and how help you move forward. We will be your voice, or assist you in finding your own again.

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

Sexual Assault Education in California Schools

Primary school years are an important time for children to learn not only about reading, writing and arithmetic, but also how to create and sustain relationships. What children do and say on the playground becomes their habits of making friends and exploring intimacy later in life.

Recognizing the huge potential contained in early education years, the California state legislature has recently passed a law to introduce sexual assault education for K-12 students starting in the 2016-2017 school year. Lawmakers hope that this new curriculum will not only prevent sexual assault at school, but start chipping away at the prevalence of sexual harassment in our nation’s culture.Sexual education improves

Sexual Harassment Often Starts at School

It may seem like a stretch to think that schoolyard squabbles are the root cause of sexual assault. But that is exactly what the research reveals. Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
August 23, 2016

14 Myths About Rape

It is a sad fact that rape continues to be shrouded in stigma and misinformation in our society. Survivors of rape not only face physical and emotional turmoil following their sexual assault, they are likely to confront misunderstandings and outright lies about rape. These widespread misconceptions can make the healing process all the more arduous for a survivor.Survivor-of-Rape

What’s more, rape myths – which effectively perpetuate an acceptance of rape – contribute to our society’s already too high rape statistics.

It’s time to shed falsehoods in order to help survivors of rape recover, and to help protect others from enduring this traumatizing form of assault. Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
July 14, 2016

One Victim’s Story Brings A Rapist To Justice

Last week, the country was stirred by the determination of one victim to receive justice for the crime committed against her.

Her courageous determination to stand up for herself and state the truth of her case sparked a fire in the hearts of everyone who heard about it. Her story has already begun to reshape opinions from the casual Facebook user to the world of academic administration to the United States government.Stanford Rape Victim Speaks Out

While we may never know the victim’s name, we are already well-acquainted with the name of her assailant:

Brock Turner.
Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
June 16, 2016

Yes Means Yes

It’s easy to make the distinction between sex versus sexual assault. Sex requires consent. Without consent, it’s sexual assault.

Although this rule of thumb is so simple, people continue to violate its boundaries. To help educate the public on consent, many No Means No campaigns have been swapped out for Yes Means Yes policies.

No Means No is designed to protect people from sexual assault, but can create ambiguities. It is built around the idea that a sexual act is unwanted, if an individual says no to it.

But what if somebody doesn’t say anything? What if they said yes before and then no? Continue reading

by Jessica Pride
May 21, 2016

Understanding Your Rights: Criminal vs. Civil Law

Surviving sexual assault is one of the most traumatic experiences a person will experience in their lifetime. Fortunately, our society has resources to help survivors overcome the pain, stigma and emotional turmoil of sexual assault, and the law is one of the most powerful tools on your side.

Survivors of sexual assault can pursue justice against their perpetrators through two legal avenues: criminal and civil court.

The Basics

A criminal case is when the government goes after the accused. The burden of proof, or what is required for the accused to be found guilty, is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In other words, based on the facts presented, there is no other logical explanation for who committed the crime.

A defendant found guilty faces punishment, which generally involves penalties and/or jail time. Since the state litigates these cases, the assault survivor has little to no say in what happens during the trial or what type of punishment is sought against the perpetrator.

On the other hand, a civil case is when one party sues another party for some kind of injury committed against them. The burden of proof for these cases is lower than in criminal proceedings. The judge or jury will decide if the accused is liable based on a “preponderance of evidence.” This means it is more likely than not that the accused committed the injurious act.

If found liable, the defendant (perpetrator) will pay money to the plaintiff (assault survivor). Because a civil proceeding is entirely initiated by the plaintiff, he or she will be heavily involved in the proceedings and help determine the amount of compensation sought from the defendant.

The Advantages

Criminal cases can provide a sense of relief to survivors by having the community and the eyes of the law recognize the perpetrator as the person guilty of committing the heinous act. Seeing that person punished for their crime can lighten a survivor’s burden. This may be especially true if the perpetrator serves jail time and is removed from society for awhile, unable to harm other innocent members of the public.

Like a guilty verdict in a criminal proceeding, a favorable verdict in a civil case can be a source of comfort for the survivor. The perpetrator’s guilt for the crime is effectively acknowledged by society. Furthermore, the monies won in a civil proceeding can provide the financial means to help a survivor recover.

Survivors often face a range of economic hardships, depending on their circumstances – such as a college student missing school and needing therapy, to a spouse losing everything after leaving an abusive marriage. In many cases, a civil proceeding is crucial to helping an assault survivor move on positively with their life.

by Jessica Pride
April 8, 2016