Sexual Misconduct & Massage – Where do we go from here?

It is unfortunate, but also oddly fitting that my first post for this blog is about sexual misconduct. Allegations and news stories have been flying around for a couple of months now, as women and men are finally being heard and listened to when they share their stories, their pain, the horrific moments that were shoved deep in the memory vault which are now floating to the surface.

Pixie Bodyworks is a one* woman operation (me, Page Evans, Hi!), and my client’s safety and comfort is my absolute #1 priority. As a solo practitioner, it is my job to address your massage therapy and bodywork needs from start to finish – marketing, appointment booking, providing treatments, referrals to complementary services or practitioners, and between-session self-care tips. ANY sexual advances or requests will not be tolerated, LOUDLY.

As you may be aware, a major massage franchise is receiving a large amount of negative attention due to lack of awareness, training, and willingness to address reports of sexual assault and harassment from therapists they employ. The many roles and characters I play in life create a lot of emotional noise that I must filter through – fury, anger, fear, hatred, disgust, sympathy, worry. My personal experience with sexual harassment and assault prevents me from being surprised, but it doesn’t really tamp down the waves of anger, or the internal (and external) screaming of

“WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? WHY? WHY ARE YOU HURTING US LIKE THIS?”

“US” in the above expletive-filled statement encompasses so many groups: abuse victims (men and women), licensed massage therapists & bodyworkers, service professionals, everyday humans.

For all our intellectual abilities, we are still humans, mammals, part of the social animal kingdom. We have automatic functions that we don’t think about – our body systems work together to figure out when to breathe, blink, move, use the restroom, etc. We also have basic needs – food, water, shelter, touch, community.

We live in a touch starved world – and instead of finding healthy outlets for the human need of touch, we shut down affection and cause an insurmountable demand for compassion. We bash and trash our bodies, hating and ignoring them until they send pain signals that can’t be ignored any longer. We don’t feel WORTHY of touch, or we FEAR touch because of negative and traumatic experiences.

It is unfortunate that human nature also includes abusive behavior, and everyone is an equal opportunity asshole. If you haven’t figured out that sexual abuse occurs in every area of life, welcome to the fold. As massage therapists, it is our responsibility to provide safe, effective, non-sexual and non-abusive manipulation of the body’s soft tissues – Muscle, fascia, tendons, ligaments, etc. It is unendingly frustrating, sad, and maddening that people will use this profession as a means to abuse others, and it is up to ALL of us to keep each other in check.

I like to say that I want to bring massage therapy and bodywork to the touch averse through Lazy Girl’s Yoga – which is absolutely true. Lazy Girl’s Yoga is done fully clothed on comfortable mats on the floor. That means there’s no risk of exposing regions that shouldn’t be (genitals, breasts), and I can move my receiver into a variety of working positions to release tension, create length and movement in the muscular body, and relieve chronic pain.

I’ve been thinking about WHY I chose to transition to mat-based work the last few months, and I feel as though my bodywork mission has expanded. My wish for my receivers is to feel as though they can just BE while they’re in my cozy, calm space. BE whatever or whoever you need – happy, sad, grumpy, annoyed, stressed out, elated, sleepy – let your mind wander or chit-chat with me about massage, role-playing games, or whatever you feel like in the moment. Ask me questions, tell me to be quiet so you can sleep, point out a spot that you’d like more work on, I don’t care. I don’t care if you’re skinny, fat, muscular, man, woman, neither, shaved, unshaved – DOES. NOT. MATTER. The point I’m poorly trying to make is that I accept who you are, where you are in life, and I’m ready to help you be you – a less stressed, relaxed, energized, and freer moving you.

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