Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2022

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EDITOR'S NOTE RespectMassage.com ABMP: Respect Massage's approach is direct, powerful, and blunt about the topic of sexual solicitors. Why is that? Gauthier: It was important for me to be extremely clear in the message, because that is why solicitations are a problem in the first place. Solicitors use vague communication to try to get therapists to provide sexual services without really coming out and asking for it, because it is illegal. I saw therapists struggling with handling solicitations because they didn't want to have the difficult conversations that accompany the topic. Therapists need the right words to get out of negative situations clearly, safely, and effectively. Respect Massage provides the tools for therapists to be clear in all facets of their business—from marketing to booking to these difficult conversations; it prepares therapists to react swiftly and confidently. ABMP: You mention "no more doubt" and "no more guilt." Do MTs struggle with self-confidence on these topics? Gauthier: Massage therapists are caregivers, and solicitations are sometimes designed to play on that emotion. Respect Massage uncovers the code and uncertainty in common requests. It leaves therapists with the confidence to say no without feeling like they are shaming someone. The end goal is to leave therapists empowered to choose their clients and to say no to requests they feel in their gut are solicitations or dangerous. ABMP: What do you hope is the legacy of Respect Massage? Gauthier: I want Respect Massage to change the way massage therapists are seen through the eyes of solicitors. I want massage therapists to be seen as the healing health-care providers we are, ending the stigma that accompanies our profession. My hope is that down the road, we will look back at Respect Massage and be grateful we don't need it anymore. DARREN BUFORD Editor-in-Chief darren@abmp.com Recently, ABMP partnered with Joyce Gauthier, massage therapist and founder of RespectMassage.com, to bring her website and its mission to a larger audience of practitioners. RespectMassage.com was originally created by Gauthier to empower massage therapists, to make it clear to the public that massage does not connote sex, and to educate the massage therapy community to spot, deter, and escape from clients soliciting sex. Gauthier will be stepping away from helming the site that she began three years ago to pursue other interests, and in her stead, ABMP is proud to continue Gauthier's mission, to promote and develop the site's content and empowering theme. I first met Gauthier during an episode of The ABMP Podcast (Episode 80, March 1, 2021). We were impressed with her drive, passion, and execution of her site. Following is a recent exchange Joyce and I had, reflecting on the site's creation and her hope for its future. ABMP: Was there a pivotal moment that led to the creation of Respect Massage? Gauthier: I was running an online group for massage therapists that focused on business building. As group members became more comfortable opening up to me, stories of solicitations came out. There was one member in particular who reached out to me because for the third time, during three separate sessions, a client had ejaculated on her table. I was shocked the therapist continued to see this client after the first offense. After some research, I realized there were few resources for therapists to identify, deter, and stop solicitations. I had the time, the fire, and the resources to make it happen, so I took on the project. "I realized there were few resources for therapists to identify, deter, and stop solicitations. I had the time, the fire, and the resources to make it happen, so I took on the project." —Joyce Gauthier 8 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m ay/ j u n e 2 0 2 2

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