Victoria’s Story: “glad I spoke up”
My best friend and I loved getting pedicures together. It was an easy way to get to spend time together since she just had a baby and I was newly married.
We always went to Royal Essence at the St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, FL. They had the best pedicures. It included a short massage while your nails dried, a hot stone massage and a paraffin wax treatment for a great price.
This particular day, as maybe once before, I had a male pedicurist. I didn’t think too much of it, just tried to act normal as it’s always a little awkward to have a male you don’t know rubbing your feet/legs.
What I didn’t know was that this particular pedicurist waited until a young girl came to the salon then would step up to work, otherwise, he’d just wait in the back.
while rubbing my legs with lotion (a normal part of a pedicure) I found myself trying to force my legs together (I was wearing a summer dress). He was trying to rub up to my knees and slightly more but I politely resisted, not thinking too much of it.
At the end of the pedicure I sat down to get my nails dried. Another part of the pedicure at this particular salon was a short back massage while your nails dry from your pedicurist. Something I normally enjoyed. But this time, with this particular pedicurist, it went too far. He began rubbing my shoulders, then went down my back. I was just talking to my friend sitting next to me, trying to act normal, and then he started rubbing my lower back, too low.
We left without me saying anything. My friend and I kind of laughed as if it was just an awkward situation.
The next day at work I told a co-worker about it and she encouraged me to speak up about it. I was too nervous to call the salon because I didn’t want to cause a commotion and put myself in any danger so I called my mom.
My mom called the salon, explained the situation to the owners. We found out that the guy was already reprimanded because the owner saw how low he massaged my back, and said not to do that. But it didn’t stop there. They said that they knew he would wait around in the back until a smaller/younger girl would come in.
Basically, they decided to call the cops and have them present while they fired him (he was kind of a big guy) and when they fired him he spoke some threatening words to the owners.
I had to file a police report about what happened (they called it ‘light battery’) and later received a notification that he was arrested for battery.
It was a scary situation but in the long run I’m very glad I spoke up. The cop filling my report said the same thing, mentioning that if he’s bold enough to do that in public, who knows the things he’s doing in private.
I hope my speaking up helped someone else stay safe from worse harm.