Trust Above All
At times, we voluntarily make ourselves vulnerable with the goal of feeling better in the moment and beyond. Getting a massage is one of those times.
For some clients, it’s easy to disrobe, lie covered on a warm table, and receive therapeutic touch. For others, it triggers the pain of old wounds and deeply self-protective instincts.
Overcoming these instincts for the sake of healing is courageous. When someone claiming to be a massage therapist uses that position of power to violate clients’ consent, they do terrible harm to their immediate victims and to many others as the effects ripple outward.
Criminal charges have been filed against a Middlebury, Vermont massage therapist on behalf of at least four clients. He is accused of placing a hidden camera in his treatment room and recording photos and video of clients undressing.
We feel outrage and compassion for the sake of the clients who trusted and were victimized. We also grieve the undermining of all clients’ trust in massage therapists, especially those who identify as male.
This criminal act will have confirmed some people’s worst fears and stolen trust from countless others. This harms all community members.
There is a positional power differential when a client is resting on a table unclothed (even when fully covered), in the presence of a fully clothed massage therapist who is standing.
At Massage Vermont, we have worked for over 20 years (Sheryl) and over 30 years (Chris) to develop skills, not just in massage techniques, but in creating and sustaining a safe time and space where people can become vulnerable for the sake of feeling better, of healing. Earning clients’ trust is our greatest honor.
In Middlebury, justice is taking its course. And we all have more healing to do.