Strategy The woman who pressured Massage Envy to take action against sexual assault says that sometimes companies 'need a crisis' to tackle problems

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A woman who pressured Massage Envy to change its sexual-assault policy for years is now joining the company's committee to improve safety at the company.

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(Facebook / Massage Envy)
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  • Danielle Dick started a Change.org petition for Massage Envy to change its policies after she says she was sexually assaulted by an employee.
  • This week, Massage Envy unveiled major changes to its policies, which Dick says she wishes "happened years ago."
  • Dick will serve on the company's new safety council.

A woman who pressured Massage Envy to change its sexual-assault policy for years is now joining the company's committee to improve safety at the company.

In late October, Danielle Dick started a Change.org petition attempting to force Massage Envy to address reports of sexual assault at the massage chain's spas. Dick was inspired by her own experience at Massage Envy, which she had shared on Medium.

"I'll spare you the horrible details of those 90 minutes Massage Envy, but in the end I found myself with a massage therapist's hand around my throat, and then face down with his hand covering my mouth while he violated me," Dick wrote.

Dick had reported the assault, and the employee was convicted of a felony sexual assault. But she says that throughout the 11-month trial, Massage Envy never contacted her, despite her telling the manager what happened.

Last week, BuzzFeed News reported that more than 180 people had filed sexual assault lawsuits, police reports, and state board complaints against Massage Envy and its employees.

On Tuesday, Massage Envy CEO Joseph Magnacca unveiled a new six-point plan to protect customers moving forward. The company will use an updated background test as well as new policies for reporting and investigating sexual assault.

The company is additionally forming the Massage Envy Safety Advisory Council, which will include a representative from RAINN and Dick, who will serve as an advisor to help continue to evaluate the effectiveness of new policies.

"Of course I wish that this change had happened years ago," Dick told Business Insider. "I wish it hadn't necessitated me launching a Change.org petition. However, I think that the reality is that corporations, like people, sometimes need a crisis to bring an issue to the forefront for prioritization."

Dick said that Massage Envy isn't alone in facing issues of sexual assault, as most major franchised massage chains have dealt with similar cases. And, she says that she doesn't hold any ill will against the manager on duty the day she was assaulted.

"Sexual assault is a frightening and overwhelming event, and I think she handled it the best that she could," Dick said.

"But, I think that my experience was reflective of part of the problem: one cannot expect local franchise owners and managers to know how to handle sexual assault on their own. They need more explicit guidance and the help of experts. Massage Envy's new plan and policies address that."