Middle Tennessee woman among 180 sexual assault accusations at Massage Envy
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
A middle Tennessee woman is among 180 women accusing Massage Envy workers of sexual assault.
More than 180 women claim workers at Massage Envy locations across the country sexually assaulted them, according to a Buzzfeed News investigation.
According to a state health department document, a woman reported massage therapist Christian Wells "digitally penetrated her" during a visit to the Brentwoood location on July 19.
“The client froze in shock and could not immediately bring herself to words,” the document said.
Heather Meshell, sexual assault response team coordinator at the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville, said it's a normal physical response.
"Look at the study of the neurobiology of trauma," Meshell said. "That tonic immobility, that natural paralysis is absolutely a common response to danger or threat."
The department suspended his license of Murfreesboro on October 3. Massage Envy fired Wells, according to state documents.
“I don't know that there's necessarily anything on the front end that someone can do to protect themselves from sexual assault,” Meshell said. “Abusers look for vulnerable situations to take advantage of people, and I think we see that in the Massage Envy cases.”
A spokesperson for Brentwood Police said the department is aware and investigating but could not comment further.
Since Buzzfeed published their investigation, more women have come forward to talk about their experiences.
"The more comfortable other survivors feel, the more empowered they feel,” Meshell said. “I think that helps empower people and share their stories.”