Are women really safe in city parlours? A recent molestation case leaves Delhi shocked
If the idea of a male therapist giving you a shoulder massage or pedicure makes you apprehensive, your fear is not totally unwarranted. Last week, a young woman filed a police complaint against a male therapist for molesting her while giving her head message in a leading parlour in Ashok Vihar.
While the incident has left people shocked, similar incidents have been reported in the past. A few months ago, the district court in Gurgaon sentenced a male therapist to five years in jail and fined him ₹50,000 for molesting a 17-year- old girl during a pedicure. A similar incident of molestation took place in a spa of a five-star hotel in Vasant Vihar a few years ago. Parlour owners say that while these are one-off incidents, owners must ensure safety. “Most women who come to us for pedicure ask for male therapists as they are good at giving pressure massage. So we don’t have females for these services. No untoward incident has ever taken place ,”says beauty expert Naina Arora who owns a salon in Shivalik. Arora insists that she has set strict rules for male therapists.
“While doing a pedicure, the guy will only massage below the knee. During head massage, service providers are instructed to ask the client if she wants a neck and shoulder massage. They use a towel and are not allowed to touch the skin,” says Arora. Kanchan Mehra, makeup artist, who runs a salon in Anand Vihar says that before hiring a male therapist, she gets police verifications done and also studies their personal and family background, past record, education and behaviour. “We are also very observant of their behaviour. We also take regular feedbacks about their conduct from our clients,” she says. Clients too say that generally, male therapists are well-behaved and professional. “If the therapists is doing a good job, gender is irrelevant. I have been getting my pedicure and hair wash done by men since long and I never had a bad experience,” says Anjali Verma Guglani, 28, homemaker.
However, some women are not comfortable with male therapists. “It’s shocking that the woman had to face such disgusting behaviour in a salon. I’ve never been comfortable with male therapists. I stopped getting pedicures as most parlours only have male staff for head spa and pedicure,” says Shveta Gupta, computer engineer, 28.
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