Since six of the eight victims were Asian-Americans, the recent attack on three Atlanta-area spas has rightly focused on racial discrimination and racially-motivated violence. (All but one were women.)
We don’t in any way want to minimize the suffering of those massage therapists and their families. And in fact, we at Horowitz Law extend to ALL the victims and their loved ones our deepest sympathies.
At the same time, another part of this tragedy that also deserves attention: just how tough a job massage therapists have.
Let’s be clear, our firm has successfully sued dozens of abusive massage therapists. We’ve gotten justice for their victims. We’ve gotten dangerous employees fired and their licenses revoked. And we’ve publicly exposed them so they’ll be less able to hurt others, as massage therapists or in other positions with other employers.
Sadly, there are plenty of bad massage therapists out there.
In fact, we blogged about one just days ago:
And about another one just weeks ago:
But of course the overwhelming majority of men and women who provide massages and massage therapy are good, hard-working people who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
And sadly, they must put up with misimpressions of their work. They experience teasing about their occupation. They feel shame caused by colleagues who hurt, instead of help, those in need of a healing touch. And sometimes they encounter sick clients like the Atlanta shooter who acknowledges that he’s a sex addict.
Again, they deserve none of this. Like others in the helping professions who bring solace and relieve pain, they should be adequately compensated and appreciated, not put down in any way, regardless of their race, color or creed.
One more aspect of this horror must also be understood. Sexual violence and sexual aggression often manifest themselves in many ways beyond the violent sex act itself.
Sexual predators often suffer from poor impulse control and poor decision-making. They can be prone to experience bouts of rage, sexual frustration, and even guilt and channel these emotions in pre-meditated violence.
(Consider how often people in the sex industry, transsexuals and other sexual minorities are assaulted and killed every year.)
Finally, how can you help? Immediately report to law enforcement any suspicions or knowledge you may have – no matter how old, vague or potentially irrelevant it might seem. Give the independent, experienced professionals in police departments and prosecutors’ offices the chance to investigate and maybe spare others the intense harm that happens when massage therapists ‘cross the line’ and are sexually inappropriate.
Ridding the massage industry of bad actors will enhance the reputation and professionalism of the field and decrease the chances that an outraged or deranged client will be violent towards a massage therapist.
Again, our hearts go out to all the victims, including these who have been identified by police: Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng and Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz.