Derbyshire massage therapist speaks out after being 'propositioned' by man on the street
A massage therapist from Derbyshire has spoken out about the sexualisation of workers in her industry after she was propositioned by a man on the street.
Laura Cunliffe, from Matlock, runs her own holistic well being centre called Awakening Shakti from her home.
The trained massage therapist and yoga teacher was stopped by a man on Dale Road at 10.15pm on Monday, July 19 who made her feel ‘uncomfortable’.
He asked Laura for directions then pulled up her business listing on Google, trying to find out where the studio was and if it was open.
The man was in his 30s or 40s, around 6ft tall, of a chubby build with facial hair along with an Eastern European or Middle Eastern accent.
Despite Laura telling the stranger the centre would not be open, she said he got ‘really pushy’ and was unsure if he followed her down the street which was close to her home.
Laura added: "I was really taken a back because I wasn't expecting that.
"But it was just a really creepy incident because the only reason he would be out, legitimately looking for my place at 10 o'clock for a massage is because he thinks it is some kind of sex work which is totally unacceptable.
"There is absolutely nothing on my website or on my google listing that gives any indication that it could be anything of that sort.
"That was the first time in the UK that I felt really unsafe.”
The yoga instructor plans to set up a Facebook group for women to openly share experiences where they have felt unsafe and urges men to listen and call out this type of behaviour when they see it.
She is encouraging anyone with ideas to get in touch with her.
Laura added: "I wanted to create more awareness about this because it is really not acceptable that in 2021 a woman can’t practice massage therapy without it being twisted and turned into something completely different.”
Laura, who is in her 30s, reported the incident to Derbyshire police who recommended the Hollie Guard app – which can send your location to police or a designated contact if you feel unsafe.
A spokesman said: “We would encourage anyone who experiences a similar situation to contact us.”