Can massage consent forms prevent sex assaults?
A registered massage therapist in Toronto is expressing concern about the implications of a mandatory client consent form that is intended to prevent sexual assault.
In September, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario introduced a new written consent form that clients would be required to fill out before every massage they receive. On the form, clients must give permission to their therapist to touch certain “sensitive areas,” which include the breasts, buttocks and upper inner thigh.
“The written consent requirement was established to ensure clients are provided with a clear opportunity to decide whether their sensitive areas are touched and to strengthen our ability to enforce the College’s zero tolerance policy of sexual abuse,” the college said in a release.
Ian Kamm, an RMT at Donvale Massage Therapy, told CTV News Channel that he thinks the form sends the wrong message to clients.
“In this case, with the very best of intentions to try and help reduce the risks around sexual assault and inappropriate touch, I think we’ve actually done the reverse by giving the mistaken impression that perhaps we’re protecting the massage therapist rather than protecting the client,” he said on Thursday.
Kamm said he’s concerned the form will erode the relationship between client and therapist.
“Trust is the single most important thing in a massage situation,” he said.
The massage therapist isn’t the only one unhappy with the consent forms. A petition on change.org called “Remove the Requirement for Written Consent for RMT Treatment” has already garnered more 13,000 signatures.
In response to feedback it received about the form, the college introduced a streamlined sample consent form that is more “user-friendly” for clients that was made available to RMTs on Nov. 22.