Monday, September 22, 2008

Lessons learned

From the KVUE News website:

"Police have arrested an Austin massage therapist accused of improper photography. Austin police investigators have confiscated a computer . . . that contains 120 files of his clients, and police say they may contain pictures or video of women getting dressed and undressed before and after massages."

I had a hot stone massage two years ago. It was done at the spa where the suspect worked. I don't remember my massage therapist's last name, but the first name is the same as the suspect's. I think it was him. Police want to hear from anyone who has received a massage from him in the last five years, so I called and left my information on the tip line. I'm sickened to think photos or video of me, secretly taken, may be on that computer.

Whether or not I'm involved, it certainly has me a little freaked out. And it has me thinking.

See, there was something odd that happened during that massage. I was laying on my stomach. I was already covered with a drape below the waist, but my back was bare. The massage therapist said, "I'm going to do some abdominal massage now. Do you want your breasts covered or uncovered?" A little embarrassed, I said, "Covered." He made sure I was covered, then and for the rest of the massage.

Now, I'd never had a massage therapist ask me that before. It seemed weird, but I hadn't had a lot of massages. I figured it was normal. I thought about asking other women if they'd ever been asked that, but I was embarrassed, afraid I'd look like a prude.

Of course, now I realize how silly that was. Yes, it was a strange thing for a massage therapist to do. My instinct told me that. And I should never be afraid to bring up something that makes me uncomfortable. Isn't that what I'll be telling my daughter?

I'm angry and sickened and while I hope I'm not involved, I know if I'm not it means some other woman is. The pictures are there; I just don't know if I'm one of the unlucky ones or not. Either this suspect or someone else (since he's still presumed innocent) appears to have grossly violated the privacy of many women. It's disgusting.

But here's what I'm determined to take away from it. If I'm uncomfortable with something that could possibly be inappropriate, I want to say something. No more convincing myself that something wrong is actually normal, just because I'm embarrassed. If I'd complained to management, maybe this would have been stopped a lot earlier. I know nothing about it is my fault, but I'm ready to be proactive in the future. I, and the women around me, deserve to be protected.


Anonymous said...

O. M. G. Jaw in lap.

Anonymous said...

Oh I am so sorry to hear this Beth. How horrible and how violating to know, I mean this could happen anywhere.

And, for the record while in Mexico on our honeymoon- it wasn't for stomach muscles, but the upper shoulders that I believe that I was asked the same weird question. I had the same instinct as you, what a strange question but I didn't voice my concerns I guess because I too had not had many myself. Now, I wonder if there is a conspiracy and either it is normal or male massagers around the world are photographing and videotapping women! Yikes. That's just too creepy.

Again, I am so sorry you had to experience this and hopefully you weren't one of the women and its a different guy than you had.

Thank you for letting everyone know.

Our Scoop said...

That is so horrible. I am so sorry you have to be thinking about this at all. I'll be praying that you are not involved. How sad our society is today!

Anna said...

eww Beth so sorry!
Hope this guy spends lots of time in jail.....what a pervert.

Kristi said...

Oh,no! Ew! What a great "lesson learned" for ALL of us. I know than many times I haven't spoken up due to embarrassment when I should have, and like you, I will no longer hold back.

I really hope and pray you're not a victim of his, Beth.

Anonymous said...

Oh Beth, I'm so sorry to hear about this! I can only imagine the huge knot in your stomache!

I want to add that from the massages I've had 1.)- they never massaged my stomache, didn't offer- probably would only do it if I requested it. and 2) I was NEVER asked if I wanted my breasts covered or not! He should of COURSE cover them! What a freak! From the sounds of it I would not be surprised if that was they guy. Hopefully he wasn't video-taping at that time.

And don't feel like you should have done something... I'm sure even if you mentioned that weird comment that would not have known what he was up to.

I hope this is resolved quickly! ~Claire

Becky said...

Oh, ick. I'm so sorry to hear that, Beth. I hope it turns out that you were not one of the women involved.

For the record, I've only had a few massages in my life, but I've never had my abdomen massaged, and NEVER had the question about whether or not my breasts should be covered. All the therapists I've been to have been very discreet in only uncovering the part of the body on which they were working at the time.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Hindsight is 20/20 so don't give yourself too much grief over this. I really hope that you end up not being involved and this guy rots in the slammer for awhile. Good luck - I'll be thinking of you.