Sexual Assault/Harassment (Peer Support)
The Assault Prevention and Education Committee (APEC) is pleased to offer a peer mentorship resource provided by the committee members. This is a free service available to all members. It was developed to assist and provide peer support through offering information/resources, emotional and practical support to individuals of sexual assault or harassment. Peer mentors are there to assist, support and provide advocacy for the individual.
- A peer support mentor is not a trained counsellor or psychotherapist. Peer mentors are a caring first line of help, not an ongoing support.
- A non-judgemental and safe place.
Note: This is not a resource for reporting official complaints–mentors will not take action on complaints.
Why Offer Peer Support?
As a committee, we recognized that there was a real need for this resource and up until now, RMTs who may have experienced harassment or assault by a client had very few resources available to them. We felt that it was important to provide a mentoring program that offers supportive services for massage therapists through a peer (fellow RMT) who understands massage therapy and the treatment environment.
The 2019 survey report, Sexual Harassment and Assault of New Brunswick Massage Therapists, demonstrated that the majority of massage therapists who participated in this survey had some experience of sexual harassment and/or assault from their client(s). Although those with such experiences may be more drawn to a survey addressing this topic, it is important to note that the survey sample represented approximately one-fifth of all of the active practising RMTs represented by the College of Massage Therapists of New Brunswick (CMTNB), the regulator of the profession in New Brunswick.
- To provide information, support, and advocacy to those RMTs affected by sexual violence within their workplace (sexual assault, sexual harassment, cyber sexual violence).
- Concerned with the prevalence of sexual assault or harassment experienced by RMTs in their workplace.
- To work toward the education and empowerment of RMTs in this area.
- To work toward public awareness and advocacy of this issue.
The goal of the program is to encourage, empower and support personal and professional growth for our members. Matching members with experienced RMTs who will aid in the development of confident, empowered, successful members of the massage therapy profession.
We use the term “sexual harassment” to refer to unwanted sexual attention and/or sexual coercion, and the term “sexual assault” to refer to unwanted sexual contact in which an individual was unwilling to or did not give consent for engaging in; both are considered forms of sexual violence.
What is Sexual Violence?
Sexual violence, as defined by the World Health Organization (2002)2, is “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.”
Sexual violence is any harmful behaviour perceived by the victim to be of a sexual nature, which is unwanted and takes place without consent or understanding of the victim.
Exceptions to the Basic Principles of Confidentiality
Every effort will be made to keep information provided by the individual confidential. But there are important exceptions to the basic principle of confidentiality. Individuals accessing this resource will be advised of these exceptions and of the approach the committee will take.
How to Access the Peer Support Mentor Service
There are five members who are trained as peer support mentors. You will be given a choice of peer support mentors to work with. To access this service, either email or phone the ANBMT firstname.lastname@example.org or 506-452-6972.
Caveat: Peer Support Mentors will protect the confidentiality of all professionally acquired information and this information will be kept in strict confidence. Such information will be disclosed only with the RMT’s (member’s) consent or where there is a clear legal obligation to release it.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
- If there is a threat to harm yourself or someone else and there is a belief that your threat is serious;
- According to the Child Welfare Act, we are ethically and legally bound to report to the appropriate authorities any abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or neglect) of a child currently under the age of 18 years. This law is designed to protect children from harm and requires that all person’s report confirmed or suspected cases of child abuse to the proper authorities;
- If you are involved in litigation of any kind and you inform the Court that you accessed this service, you may be waiving your right to keep your records confidential. If the Court subpoenas files, or the peer mentor, we are obligated to appear and to answer questions; OR
- If the information shared contravenes the Massage Therapy Act, e.g., if you disclose you have entered into a relationship with your client.