Blog > When A Massage Becomes An Assault4 min read

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.


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.


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.


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If you’ve been the victim of sexual assault, Jessica Pride wants to help you once again become the strong person you are. No man or woman deserves to be victimized in such a way.


The Pride Law Firm
2831 Camino Del Rio S., Suite 104
San Diego, CA 92108

1900 Powell St. Ste 6022
Emeryville, Ca 94608

Phone. (619) 516-8166

Fax. (619) 785-3414


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