In wake of the dozens of sexual assault claims being publicized in the Hollywood industry, the hype of the claims has also trickled down into other industries. On Sunday, November 26th, one story, in particular, grabbed nationwide attention.
A BuzzFeed investigation revealed that 180 different women have filed a sexual assault lawsuit against the largest spa chain in the country—Massage Envy. According to these women, the billion-dollar company “mishandled or ignored” several sexual misconduct claims against their massage therapists.
Susan Ingram first came forward with her horrifying experience, claiming that massage therapist James Dieter groped her breasts and forcefully touched her genitals. Ingram attempted to report the incident to a manager just one hour later, who refused to interrupt Dieter's next session. Dieter later admitted to sexually assaulting nine different women at his place of work after Ingram got the police involved.
More than 180 women, like Ingram, who entered a Massage Envy facility expecting a relaxing and stress-relieving massage, left the building terrified and disgusted by their experience—being inappropriately touched. Cases even included women having a prenatal massage.
BuzzFeed pointed out that the actual number of customers who experienced sexual misconduct at a Massage Envy location is actually much higher than 180 people. Some cases have no paper trail due to a settlement being handled prior to a lawsuit; other victims likely did not file a lawsuit at all.
Claims were filed in several different states including Oregon, California, Pennsylvania and others. Details of the claims from the BuzzFeed investigation contain many graphic details, so they will not be shared on Faith Family America.
Massage Envy responded to USA Today request for comment, calling the incidents “heartbreaking,” but admitted that they took place over a course of 15 years among 125 million massages.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a sexual harassment situation, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) for any assistance. We will be praying for those who have been affected by sexual harassment and are in need of hope, healing, and help.
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