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74 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 5 74 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 5 Sexual misconduct by health-care practitioners can destroy clients' lives. This story illustrates the tragic devastation brought about by one individual's irresponsible behavior. In my 25 years teaching professional ethics and boundaries, and 10 years as an expert witness on sexual abuse by manual therapists, I've seen far too many cases similar to the scenario Emma K. describes. I've also seen circumstances where the victim herself is blamed: "Why would she go back?", "What's wrong with her", or "She brought it on herself." This attitude doesn't account for the vulnerability of someone whose trust has been previously broken through systematic abuse. It also doesn't recognize the enormous infl uence of the power differential in a bodywork relationship. All of us who are horrifi ed and saddened by these stories can do our part to prevent further abuses by advocating for: the careful screening of students who enter massage schools; a rigorous licensing process in every state; a professional massage board that monitors professional therapists both within the state and between states; and procedures to monitor unlicensed, poorly trained, or untrained therapists and prevent them from doing harm. No client who comes to a practitioner for support and healing should ever be subjected to the indignity and mistreatment that was infl icted on Emma K. BY BEN E. BENJAMIN, PhD The article that follows is an honest and disturbing fi rsthand account of one client's experience with a sexually abusive therapist. I have great respect for Emma K.'s courage in sharing her story, which carries important lessons for all hands-on practitioners: the vulnerability associated with clients' prior history of trauma, the dangers of amplifying the mystique of alternative and complementary practices, the impact of the power differential in therapeutic relationships, and the long-term consequences of abusing that power.

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