Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Thai massage therapists are being asked for ‘happy endings’

Man getting massage with hot stone
Image: iStock

CW: sexual harrassment, including descriptions. If this is a triggering topic for you, feel free to skip this post.

Massage therapists are being asked to give male clients ‘happy endings’.

According to SBS News, Susan* has been working as a massage therapist in Australia for a decade. The Thai – born visa holder did massage therapy in Sydney to comply with the conditions of her visa.

Massage is easy for a non – English speaking visa holder to get into. Unfortunateky, these workers are easy for people to take advantage of.

Clients ask for ‘happy endings’.

Susan told SBS News:

Ninety-five percent are good clients. When you are given good feedback, it feels really good… I love my work.

Yet, some of the five percent are… well sleazy. Men have asked Susan to give them ‘happy endings’, i.e. to masturbate them to orgasm.

Susan also says that clients have tried to touch her while she was performing the massage.

University studies sexual harrassment victimisation among migrant communities

Needless to say, this is sexual harrassment, pure and simple. Unforrtunately, Susan is not the only one who has been harassed.

Monash University has partnered with Harmony Alliance and Women’s Alliance to get a glimpse into sexual violence suffered by migrants and refugees. According to Associate Professor Marie Segrave, migrants and refugees are often overlooked in sexual violence studies in Australia.

When the SBS article was published last week, 1,000 people had responded to Segrave’s questionnaire. More people were expected to respond.

How Susan protects herself

It’s disgusting that this is happening. However, experienced therapists are able to deal with potentially sleazy clients. They often have to read between the lines.

Susan told SBS News:

My experience, when the guy asking about full body, I have aware what is meaning [sic]

Massage isn’t sex work

Let me start with a statement. If someone wants to do sex work, erotic massage, etc, that’s their perogative.

If someone wants to give clients ‘happy endings’ or sexual services, that’s their perogative.

This is NOT what massage therapists are about. In fact, massage therapists vehemently reject the idea that they are sex work services. If you look up massage and sex work on Google, you will see link after link with the same arguments.

This message should go out far and wide. Because what is happening to many massage therapists is sexual harassment, pure and simple.

The race aspect

We obviously need to talk about race, too. Many massage therapists that face sexual harrassment and indecent assault are often migrants or visa holders from non – English speaking backgrounds.

Why aren’t those with a working visa in Australia being offered transalation services? Aren’t they being told what their rights are? What the laws are?

Are migrant workers being told who to turn to if they are being harassed or indecently assaulted? If migrants and work visa holders aren’t being told this, then there’s huge flaws in our migration system. Then again, I guess it isn’t surprising, given how many migrant workers often get financially exploited.

This shouldn’t be happening. No one, regardless of where they come from, should be abused, harassed or exploited at work.

Anyone facing harassment at work can contact the Fair Work Commission: 1300 799 675

To get more information, you can go to the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

*Not real name

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Queen Elizabeth II’s death and free speech: where is the line?

Image: iStock

Queen Elizabeth II passed away last week. She was ninety – six – years – old.

The news of her passing has left many grief – stricken. A national day of mourning has been called for the 22 September. Australia will join the mourning, with businesses closing down as a mark of respect.

Mourners have come from around tge world; including Australia and the U.S. However, not everyone has been grieving. In fact, some have been disrespectful.

Professor wished Queen a “excruciating death”

A Carnegie Mellon University professor had a tweet degrading the Queen censored.

According to The Intercept, Professor Uju Anya wrote:

I heard the chief monarch of a thieving, raping, genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.

Uju Anya via Twitter 9 September 2022

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos was quick to condemn the tweet. Twitter was quick to deem the tweet “abusive” and Twitter removed it.

Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski pointed outvthat Anya is friends with a pro – Union protestor. Bezos has fought tooth and nail against unions.

NRLW player kicked out of Round over Instagram post

Last Friday (9 September), Newcastle Knight’s Caitlin Moran was penalised for an Instagram post degrading the Queen. Moran used a derogatory term against her (I won’t repeat it).

The tweet was deleted eight hours later. On Tuesday, the NRL banned Moran for a game and 25% of her pay was cut. The NRL has also ordered Moran to undergo education on appropriate social media use.

Newcastle Knights’ coach, Ronald Griffiths defended Moran:

The relationship bwtween Indigenous people and the monarchy is a complicated one.

If Caitlin has done something, then it will be investigated by the Integrity Unit and we’ll work our way through the process.

Ronald Griffiths

The NRL rejected Griffiths’ defence, condemning Moran’s comments as unacceptable. They claimed that players were expected to not make comments that could potentially cause “damage to the game”.

Lastly (on this incident), the NRL has been accused of double standards. People have highlighted the belated suspension of Penrith Panthers’ Taylan May.

May was found guilty of assault after Panthers’ premiership win last year. His two match susoension has been suspended.

There are calls for the NRL to reverse Moran’s ban and apologise,

The Markle effect

Let me start by saying this. Queen Elizabth II’s death is devastating for those who knew and loved her.

That said, the Queen’s death has obviously opened a can of worms. The legacy of the British Empire is still felt. And it’s not all positive.

What Anya and Moran said was disrespectful. And probably attention seeking, to be honest.

However, I can’t help but think the panalities they faced were excessive. They should have been called out and criticised. They should have been debated.

People don’t have to like what they said. Remember the whole ‘I may not like what you say, but I’ll defend the right to say it’?

This is about power. This is about how the British Monarchy has become something to be protected at all costs. I have felt this since Meghan Markle left the UK and took Prince Harry to the US.

Since then, criticism of the monarchy hasn’t been tolerated. To me it’s defending the status quo.

I don’t condone disrespect. But you either defend free speech or you don’t.

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Uncategorized

People are seeking mental health help because of TikTok

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This is very interesting.

Since it launched into the world, TikTok has gained popularity, particularly among Gen Z.

It became known as an app where peoe uploaded short videos, including many dances.

But that’s not all it’s known for. According to The Australian, TikTokers are using the app to identify and seek help for mental disorders.

While psychologists are encouraged by the people seeking help, they strongly warn against self – diagnosis.

Common disorders that young people are seeking help for include: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette’s syndrome and autism.

Australian Psychology Society President, Tamara Cavenett was encouraged by the trend:

There has definitely been a huge increase mental health awareness, mental health literacy, and a greater acceptance of seeking help and seeing a psychologist.

People are seeking treatment or recognising there’s a problem and seeing someone, which is hugely positive.

Tamara Cavenett as told to The Australian

Some TikTok influencers don’t just raise awareness their diagnoses. They actively celebrate it. Ella Watkins is one such Australian influencer.

Watkins explained that her parents knew she was autistic. However, for years, she wasn’t evaluated:

My parents always knew that I was autistic, but growing up, they never got me evaluated because it was very stigmatised especially in Tasmania.

Ella Watkins, as told to The Australian

Eventually, Watkins turned to TikTok to discover the markers before seeking an official diagnosis.

TikTok and accusations of faking illnesses

Over the years, TikTokers have created hashtag trends surrounding mental illness. These include: Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), Tourettes syndrome, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Last year, I.D Vice reported that the pandemic saw a rise in mental health issues. It also saw the rise of mental health content on social media.

In 2020, TikTok found an influx of new creators creating a #wellnesswarriors trend. TikTok also launched #WellnessHub. This allowed users to connect, discover and share health and lifestyle knowledge.

What started as a supportive community snowballed into a trend. More and more creators were accused of appropriating mental illnesses for clout.

This ‘trend’ isn’t new. In the late 1990’s Marc Feldman MD coined the term ‘Munchausen’s by Internet’.

Unfortunately, a number of creators have been attacked. Many have been accused of faking illnesses. As a result, many content creators have been bullied, and even doxxed (having personal information like addresses without consent).

People with Tourettes Syndrome have took to platforms such as Reddit to call out creators who’ve allegedly faked the disorder.

It’s important to note that the I.D. Vice casts doubt over DID as a legitimate diagnoses. Former Seattle Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, professor and podcaster, Dr Kirk Honda has addressed DID TikTok trend. He validates

Last year, Dr Kirk Honda addressed the DID TikTok controversy on Psychology in Seattle

Social media will continue to be an avenue that people will seek out information. It will continue to be a means where people seek validation for personal experiences, including mental illnesses. However, it can’t be the sole source of information — especially diagnoses.

Mental health needs to be taken seriously by governments and psychological and psychiatric bodies. People of all genders need to be able to seek help, accurate diagnoses and get relevant help.