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She Was Sexually Harassed At Work, Now This Massage Therapist Is Educating Others On How To Protect Themselves
Priscilla Fleming became a licensed massage therapist in 2019 to help people. What she didn’t expect was sexual harassment, which she says started almost instantly. “At that point, I now had to process this traumatic experience while navigating a whole new industry that put me alone in a dark room with strangers. So I really considered leaving the industry all together between posts. vulgar and then trying to navigate that. I wasn’t sure it was worth it, but I stuck it out,” Fleming says. In response, Fleming started the ethics course “Safety and Solicitation: Gaslighting and Power Dynamics” to help other therapists recognize threatening behaviors in clients. She is also on a mission to challenge harmful stereotypes that plague the massage industry. made headlines last month, when NFL quarterback Deshuan Watson was suspended by the Cleveland Browns for 11 games and fined $5 million after he was accused of sexual misconduct by 24 massage therapists. The allegations included Watson exposing himself and manipulating therapists into touching him inappropriately. Two of the women also accused Watson of pushing them into performing oral sex. While Watson has repeatedly denied the allegations, 23 of the 24 civil lawsuits have been settled. In an interview with Sports Radio 610, Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin claimed a “happy ending” was not a crime unless extra money was paid for the service. “I feel like he single-handedly put a lot of us in danger of being mugged,” Fleming says. “The NFL is a very big, well-known industry and there is a very big fan base. So by his attorney making these allegations, I’m afraid that’s empowering that fanbase to come and get what Dashaun Watson was getting. Along with his ethics course, Fleming spends considerable time educating other therapists about the gaslighting and grooming tactics used by predatory clients. Gaslighting is about manipulating someone into casting doubt on what they are experiencing, and grooming is a process of seeing how far a predator can go beyond a person’s personal boundaries. Fleming notes that in the therapeutic relationship, the licensed therapist is granted the power to direct the dynamic in a professional setting. She says that when this power dynamic shifts, therapists can find themselves operating in threatening territory.