Many prominent male figures in show business, the media and politics are falling swiftly from grace as countless women (and men) come forward with accusations of sexual assault. What began as one report from several A-lister starlets has now become an unceasing flow of new allegations almost daily. The public has seen an instantaneous surge of sexual assault and sexual misconduct allegations alike, ousting one male celebrity after the next from positions of power and influence. After decades of being stifled, accusers are sharing their stories and demanding answers.
The slew of sexual assault allegations began on October 5th, when the New York Times published an article revealing several women’s accounts of being sexually assaulted by media mogul Harvey Weinstein. Continue reading
credit: TIME Magazine
TIME has released its choice for 2017 Person of the Year, and it’s more than one person. A group of women – straight faced and dressed in black, who have come forward in recent months with harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault – adorns the glossy cover. They are named by the magazine as “The Silence Breakers.”
Pictured are celebrities Taylor Swift and Ashley Judd, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu and Mexican immigrant strawberry picker Isabel Pascual, whose name is changed to protect her identity. The cover also includes a faceless, nameless woman with only her sleeved right arm in the frame. Her anonymity as an act of solidarity for other victims who are fearful that exposing their identity could endanger themselves or their families.
The photo alone speaks loudly about the indiscriminate truth of sexual assault. The Silence Breakers could not vary more Continue reading
In one of my first “real” jobs out of college, an older, male colleague sexually harassed me.
He worked in a different department than me. We had little reason to interact. Yet, for a period of time, I would receive daily emails from him to go out to lunch. At first, the invitations seemed innocuous. I politely declined. Over time, however, the invitations felt more forcefully flirtatious. After a period of several weeks of repeated, polite declines he didn’t seem to get the hint – I wasn’t interested.
I started to make excuses: “My ‘boyfriend’ wouldn’t like it if we went out to lunch” – no boyfriend existed. “I have too much work to do” – I didn’t. “I already made plans to go out to lunch with X” – I hadn’t. Still, he persisted. He said he would treat me better than my “boyfriend” – though I had provided no details about our “relationship.” He said how important I must be to my department and how he’d love to sweep me off my feet, away from my duties – I wouldn’t respond. And whenever I had plans with someone else for lunch, he would beg for a chance to be one of my “lunch dates” because I wouldn’t regret it. I regretted every email he sent me. Continue reading
Massages are meant to be a relaxing way to release tension and stress from the body. And for many, the service of a skilled massage therapist can be a blessing. But what happens when a massage turns into something else—something uninvited?
This is the case for popular massage franchise Massage Envy, who is at the root of over 180 sexual assault claims by female clients. The billion-dollar spa chain also faces allegations that massage assault claims were mishandled and in some cases even ignored.
Massage Envy spas adopt a business model similar to that of a fast food chain, providing timely, affordable service for paying customers by staffing massage therapists and managers by the numbers. With this quick pace of business, Massage Envy appears to have sacrificed hiring standards to meet demands. The result is a combination of newly graduated massage therapists often working under inexperienced managers, an atmosphere that has proven unsafe for many vulnerable clients. Continue reading
Two decades ago, in what was supposed to be a business breakfast meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein told actress Ashley Judd to meet him in his room. Appearing in a bathrobe, he told her that she could watch him shower and asked her if he could give her a massage.
On October 5, 2017, The New York Times publicly announced that it found three decades worth of other undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein. The allegations asserted that Mr. Weinstein used his status as a top Hollywood producer to sexually harass, assault, oppress, and manipulate women such as Ms. Judd. For thirty years, Mr. Weinstein had managed to cover up an abundance of dirt; his sexual misconduct was documented in emails, legal records, interviews with current and former employees, interviews with film industry workers and internal documents from Mr. Weinstein’s businesses, Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Continue reading
Taylor Swift often receives a lot of criticism in the media. She dates too many guys or she’s not as good as Beyoncé – but by far Swift critics tend to chide her the most for her delayed responses to feminist issues, including sexual assault.
Now, Swift has spoken out about her own sexual assault. In 2013, radio DJ David Mueller allegedly lifted Swift’s dress and groped her during a photo op. Swift reported Mueller’s behavior to Mueller’s boss. In response, the radio station terminated Mueller. Two years later, Mueller sued Swift for $3 million, claiming her allegation cost him his $150,000 job at the radio station.
Faced with a lawsuit for reporting Mueller, Swift counter-sued Mueller for assault and battery. Continue reading
Updated August 3, 2017.
In March of 2016 we wrote a post about the dangers of using a ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
Later in April 2016, a district attorney in San Francisco sued Uber for falsely claiming they had used “the most comprehensive screening of would-be drivers available.” It was later revealed that these screenings did not include fingerprinting for past convictions, and Uber settled the case for $10,000,000.
Update: October 2017
Be aware that there are general personal injury lawyers claiming to assist sexual assault victims who have little to no experience in this field of law. Our firm founder has released the following statement: “Sexual assault is not as common as a car accident, and the treatment and procedure required to begin healing and become a survivor of a sexual assault varies for each individual. If someone has been sexually assaulted whether by an Uber or Lyft driver, or otherwise, I encourage them to speak with a lawyer who specifically handles this area of law.”
Uber’s code of conduct at the time included the language: “Furthermore, commenting on appearance, asking overly personal questions and making unwanted physical contact is inappropriate.” Uber and Lyft have both come under scrutiny for their drivers who have committed violent acts or sexual assault. Continue reading
As the event co-chair, Jessica Pride will be amongst several sponsors, volunteers and community leaders at the Center for Community Solutions San Diego’s (CCSSD) 18th annual Tea & Tonic. The fundraising event celebrates all those committed to supporting the CCSSD’s mission to end relationship violence by being a catalyst for caring communities and social justice. The CCSSD welcomes celebrity keynote speaker Terry Crews, who is known for his action and comedic movie roles in films such as Everybody Hates Chris and White Chicks.
Jessica maintains a key role in helping to organize the Tea & Tonic fundraising event and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the CCSSD.
Jessica (R) and friend Ms. McCord at last year’s Tea & Tonic.
Massages are meant to be a soothing relaxation technique to relieve tension or stress – but what happens when they become something else? Something dark and uninvited?
If you’ve trusted in a professional massage therapist, masseuse or spa only to have that trust completely violated, it’s important to know that it is not your fault. While it is easy and far too common for victims of sexual assault to look inward and shoulder the blame, you are not guilty for what has happened to you. You did not ask to be abused.
The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
You are not alone.
Many may feel confused about the difference between appropriate and inappropriate conduct during massage therapy, and yet it is critical for identifying abuse when it happens. Continue reading
Chances are good that, if you’re a girl, you got picked on by a boy during your school years. Maybe your hair was pulled or you got pushed, teased or ganged up on during recess. Possibly even worse things happened, like being bullied about your body, having your clothes messed with or your body touched in a way that made you uncomfortable.
Adults often have a set of stock phrases to respond to children’s complaints about this kind of behavior. They say things meant to reframe the incident, such as “he’s just picking on you because he likes you” or “boys will be boys.” Rather than teaching the female child that she gets to set the boundaries on how she is treated, they teach her to regard her body and her girlhood as a liability, an object that others are allowed to treat however they want. Continue reading