Sexual Abuse, a Massage Therapist, and Breaking the Silence

I have been watching videos of all of the athletes coming out about the sexual abuse by inmate Larry Nassar. In doing so, I was reminded of the discomfort I had with a massage years ago. What I experienced was not as invasive as Nassar, but something was not right.

I can see why so many women with Nassar blew off their own abuse as “medical treatment,” because you think you should trust professionals to do their job properly, even if it seems strange. You’re embarrassed to question what they do, especially if it makes you uneasy in the first place. They convince you that it’s to help you.

I’ve learned from my own experience, and through the Nassar ordeal, that anything that seems “off” should be questioned and investigated. A few weeks after going to my masseuse, this article came out.

It’s interesting how when someone else speaks up, you begin to see more clearly. I’m disappointed, looking back, that I didn’t call in to report what I experienced with the masseuse. But I still felt embarrassed and uneasy.

This might tie in closely to that of eating disorders. When one person speaks out, an understanding and realization occurs among everyone else who has gone through something similar. It empowers us all to stand up and say something about it.

The community is learning a lot from this Nassar case: that our voices can have tremendous power (especially the more that are raised), that they should be taken seriously, and that any accusations must be investigated immediately. I think also that in terms of both sexual abuse and eating disorders, athletic staff should be very aware of the signs (whether someone says something, or there are behavior/mood changes), and take action.

I’m proud of all of these women for speaking up. I’m hoping we can see many more people with eating disorders speak up, too, because raising our voices gives others a voice, and prompts coaches and athletic to know they must tackle these issues and learn how to address them appropriately.

I’m in tears watching this all unfold, but also empowered.

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