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