Motive behind massage parlour ads could be disturbing

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I write in response to the Jan. 31 CBC story “Prank behind massage parlour ad, councillors believe.” My Take: real? No big deal. Hoax? That’s not a joke.

In recent weeks, there was a sudden outcry, particularly from women on the Memorial University St. John’s campus, regarding an ad posted throughout the campus looking for young women to work in a massage parlour.

This ended as quickly as it began due to the ads being believed to be hoax — or some kind of “practical joke.” The ads for the job did not bother me, nor did the outcry against them, but what did bother me was how quickly the story disappeared from the radar as soon as it was believed to be a hoax.

If it really was a hoax — which it does appear to be — that is something that needs some serious consideration.

My mind instantly wondered as to why someone would play a practical joke such as this — what would their motive be? A pathetic attempt at the even more pathetic act of “slut shaming” perhaps? Not that that would be acceptable, but of the two outcomes that I came to, the realization of that one is the more favourable.

The disturbing reality of this being a hoax presents an immediate danger to the young women who might have responded to this ad. Consider the following: one of the potential aims of hoax such as this could be to target young women, entrapping them in a potentially dangerous situation (i.e. sexual violence), in which they would be even less likely to report given the nature of why they would have been in such a location. If a young woman was to respond to that ad and show up thinking she was going for a job interview for a massage parlour such as the one described in the ad, she may be considerably less likely to report being sexually assaulted or raped — especially when considering the statistics of crimes of this nature being reported without this context.

This is not a difficult line of logic to follow and one that should have been considered in the immediate aftermath of this ad being revealed as a hoax. The potential danger of episodes such as these is real and should be considered as such, not simply ignored and forgotten once the “offending” piece of paper is removed.

Shannon Conway

St. John’s

Organizations: CBC

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Recent comments

  • John
    February 22, 2013 - 19:30

    Get your heads out of the sand. This ad is probally not a joke. It is more likely an indication of our twisted society that people tend to lend a blind eye to. We need to wake up and address the problems. In the greater St. John's area there are: 4 brothels (massage parlors), 4 escort agencies (groups of call girls), various independent escorts advertising online who are both local and travelling here to do business, a handful of street walking prositutes, 3 strip clubs (offering physical contact). Much of this business takes place away from downtown "red light" area and in residential neighbourhoods. On any given day a "client" has up to 50 masseuses, escorts, prositutes, and lap dancers to choose from.

    • david
      February 23, 2013 - 12:07

      Consentual activities by adults is no one else's business. Not only is that a very pragmatic policy, but if you veer away from it, you'll never stop. An acronym for everyone to love: MYOB.

  • Herb Morrison
    February 22, 2013 - 11:12

    When you consider that the so-called "Law of the Land" states that "what consenting adults do iin private is their own business," while the establishment of a massage parlour in St. John's might "rub some people the wrong way," unless there is documentable evidence that something which is illegal is appening here (exploitation of women) then what has transpired so far, within the context of this situation is much adieu about nothing.

  • Anon
    February 22, 2013 - 09:49

    Why do you people always have to bring it back to rape? "Ya know, whatt? I bet they were trying to rape all those women!" You people are worse than Fox News. It wasn't a hoax. It was a business model that was quickly abandoned. If it was a hoax, what odds. No one got raped, no one got cooerced into a casting couch situation. The only thing that happened was a few over-sensitive people, particularly women got their knickers in a bunch over nothing. No wonder we live in a supposed rape culture. That's all you people think about.

    • RPN
      February 27, 2013 - 00:19

      We live in a culture fixated on self gratifacation & as we all know sex here not oil is the #1 industry.So get tested & protect,protect,protect.

  • david
    February 22, 2013 - 08:30

    Very good point. Let's focus our thoughts on things that turn out to not even have been worth considering to begin with. Lord knows, we don't have any other pproblems to occupy our time. I can't stop thinking about what would have happened if that meteroite that landed in Russia brought alien germs with it. Would Medicare pay for the vaccine? I doubt it!