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Violated and molested at a Tuscan spa

This is a horror story of a different kind, and I’m sorry as hell to have to tell it.

I always thought that if I was ever sexually assaulted, I would put up a wicked fight. I had all my defences planned: an elbow here, a knee there.

But I never in a million years expected it to happen while I was naked and vulnerable, lying on a massage table at a spa that my tour company and my hotel had recommended.

On April 25 of this year, I decided to skip a scheduled wine tasting in order to get a massage at Terme Sensoriali, a spa in Chianciano Terme, Tuscany, that was endorsed by both G Adventures and the Agriturismo la Pietriccia.

When my tour guide phoned the spa to make the appointment for me, she was told all they had remaining was a “Tibetan massage.” I’d never heard of a Tibetan massage, and asked for a therapeutic one instead. When I was told that wasn’t possible, I decided the Tibetan treatment would be better than nothing.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Upon arrival at the spa, I was given flimsy paper underwear and told to remove my clothes before getting on the massage table, where I covered my body with a towel. So far, everything was as expected. An elderly Peruvian man came in, and my heart sank–to be honest, I’d seen him in the reception area and there was something about him that gave me a very bad feeling. I’d thought, “I hope that’s not going to be my therapist.”

He immediately increased my discomfort by telling me I was a “big girl,” and that I needed to drink more water to “get rid of these.” These were my hips and thighs, which he was jabbing repeatedly with his fingers. Since when do masseurs criticize your body? I was immediately put on the defensive, feeling the need to argue with him about whether or not my hips and thighs were a problem.

The man then proceeded to aggressively massage my inner thighs, very high up on the leg. As he moved my legs into a frog-like position, I felt even more vulnerable and exposed. There wasn’t much to the paper underwear, and I could feel I was falling out of it. The towel kept getting pushed aside, and I kept pulling it back. I know he could tell I was uncomfortable, because he kept telling me to “relax” and let my legs flop more to the side, much like a woman would when getting a pap smear. He repeatedly grazed my labia with his hands during this part of the massage, but at that point, it still felt like an accident, and I didn’t want to overreact.

Then, without warning, he yanked down my towel and began to knead my breasts. Even though I was extremely uncomfortable with this, it didn’t feel in the slightest bit erotic, so I told myself I was being silly. Maybe this is a normal massage for Italy, I thought. Maybe this is how they do it in this country.

To my surprise, the masseur started lecturing me about breast cancer and how it is prevalent in young women. He told me I needed to be doing regular breast exams, but reassured me that my breasts were “healthy.”

Since when are masseurs qualified to check women for breast cancer?

But the worst moment came when, still holding my breasts, he leered at me and said, “Just right for champagne.” I was sure I’d heard him wrong, so I asked him to repeat it. Once again, he told me my breasts were just right for champagne.

I knew then, without a doubt, that something was very wrong with this massage. This man was not a professional massage therapist.

Still, lying naked on a table alone with him, in a foreign country, I was not as assertive as I would normally be. When he told me to turn over, I asked him a bunch of increasingly demanding questions about what his intentions were. I was very much concerned about what he would do with my back turned.

In response, he said, “You do not need to know what to expect.”

“You do not need to know what to expect.”

As soon as I turned over, he roughly yanked the paper underwear down–again without warning or asking if I was okay with it–and massaged the top of my buttocks. Thankfully, that was the end of it.

He left the room, and I hurried to get dressed, feeling violated, dirty, and in need of a shower. It was in that moment that I knew, without a doubt, that I’d been molested. The way I felt confirmed that–no matter how much I desperately wanted to believe this had just been an ordinary massage–it was not. I felt sick to my stomach, and when my guide asked how it had been, I burst into tears.

How G Adventures Responded

At first, my guide was very sympathetic and angry on my behalf. She assured me what I’d experienced was NOT normal for Italy and said, “We must get this man fired!” She told me she would talk to Stefano, who owns Agriturismo la Pietriccia, and he would speak to the director of Terme Sensoriali. I wish now that she’d encouraged me to report the experience to the police, as I was too shellshocked and devastated to know what to do, or to think clearly about my options.

The next day, my guide told me that Stefano had spoken to the director of the spa, the head of personnel, and the masseur himself. While the spa refused to admit any wrong doing, and their idea of reparations was offering me a voucher for a return visit!, I was told the masseur ADMITTED he’d been “unprofessional” with me–that he had also rushed me, and, even though he could tell I was uncomfortable, did not stop the massage or alter his behaviour.

Upon telling me this, my guide’s tune changed completely. The Tibetan massage was an “emotional massage,” which apparently was an excuse for the masseur’s crude remarks, rudeness, and inappropriate fondling. Stefano’s wife and friends went to the same guy and never had a problem, so I must have misunderstood what happened. To make matters worse, my guide said, “You both have your opinion,” as if what happened to me was up for debate. I was careful not to embellish or exaggerate the incident, and any quotes you see in this post are exactly what was said to me–I’d happily swear to it in court.

Thankfully, the customer service team at G Adventures responded more appropriately. They reimbursed me for the horrible experience, which the spa still had the nerve to charge me for, gave me a small credit towards another trip, and–most importantly–conducted their own independent investigation of the incident. As a result of that investigation, they will no longer promote the spa to their tour groups.

How Terme Sensoriali Responded

The spa, unfortunately, has continued to defend its masseur and his treatment of me, going so far as to lie on Trip Advisor. In response to my complaint on the review site, they claimed I said the massage was “Excellent,” which is a complete lie. I said it was “Different,” using my tone and expression to convey what I could not voice. All I wanted was to get the hell out of there and avoid running into the man who violated me. Also, there were a small crowd of Italians waiting to pay lined up behind me–I did not feel comfortable getting into something so personal and upsetting in front of an audience of strangers.

Do I wish I’d spoken up? Yes.

The spa has also continued to use the term “emotional massage” as an excuse, and has said that a Tibetan massage involves massaging the “tops of the breasts.” That is not what was done to me. Also, there is no mention of a breast exam or lewd comments about the shape of the breasts, both of which I received.

They are using the fact that I was an English-speaking tourist against me. I must have misunderstood, or perhaps I was too sensitive and wasn’t familiar with normal Tibetan massages.

No. No. No.

How Agriturismo la Pietriccia Responded

Even though Stefano told me he was sorry for what happened to me, he continues to promote Terme Sensoriali on his website and presumably refer tourists to that spa. I had hoped that, with the result of G Adventures’ investigation, the agriturismo would also withdraw their support of this spa. Sadly, that is not the case, and I’m afraid and concerned for other foreign women, whom I believe are extremely vulnerable.

The fact that Stefano’s wife and her friends have been treated by this man without a problem isn’t a mitigating factor to me, as it is to Stefano and my G Adventures guide Laura Cimò. The agriturismo and the spa have a mutually beneficial relationship: they both send business to each other. For the masseur to mistreat Stefano’s wife or her friends would be beyond idiotic–not to mention Chianciano Terme is a very small town, and news would spread quickly if this man began molesting women in the community.

It also doesn’t matter to me that no other tourist complained. First of all, most visitors to the spa do not get a massage–they use the mineral pools. Second, only a third of all sexual assault victims report the assault. And third, even if I’m the only woman that man has ever done this to, one is one too many.

I’m sickened by what happened to me, and I still wasn’t ready to call it what it was until a sergeant with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told me it is, in fact, sexual assault.

I have two reasons for publicly telling my story: one, I hope public pressure will convince Stefano at the Agriturismo la Pietriccia to stop sending tourists to Terme Sensoriali and withdraw its endorsement of that spa.

And two, I want to stand in solidarity with every single person who has been violated, molested, assaulted, or raped. I understand now what it’s like to feel so horribly vulnerable and helpless. To have people doubt your words, twist them around, lie, and treat you like a pariah.

Please learn from my experience–if someone EVER makes you feel uncomfortable, whether a masseur, doctor, dentist, or even a friend–don’t wonder if you’re overreacting. Don’t worry about being a bitch, or a prude, or try to be polite. Do whatever you can to get out of the situation that is bothering you right away. I will forever beat myself up for not telling that guy off and leaving the room the minute he began to insult my body–that was the first clue something was really wrong.

I didn’t want to be this girl. This is what happened to me. I didn’t want this to happen, I didn’t ask for it, and it wasn’t my fault.

But I will do everything in my power to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

What You Can Do

Please sign my petition urging the Agriturismo la Pietriccia to stop promoting Terme Sensoriali to its guests, which would include removing the spa’s ads and links from the agriturismo’s website. Share the petition and this story with your circle, especially women who have a trip to Tuscany planned or who may consider one in the future.

Thanks for your help, and thanks for listening.

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77 Comments

  1. Avatar

    You have my unconditional support. I know this must be agonizing for you, and I admire your courage. Thank you for speaking out.

    • JH

      Thank you so much, Ryan. I appreciate that more than mere words would ever be able to convey.

    • Avatar

      I am just learning of this now, Holli, and my heart goes out to you. I got emotional all over again when you offered to stand in solidarity with ‘us’ and our difficult journeys. So, thank you.

  2. Avatar

    Oh Holli, I am so sorry. I’m signing and sharing.

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Somer. I wasn’t sure whether to share with the horror community or not, but I really want to protect the women who will come after me.

  3. Avatar

    Holli, I’m sorry. Today I wish I had a magic wand. 🙁

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Anna. I wish you did too!

  4. Avatar

    Holy crap, what a nightmare. I’m sorry that this marred your trip on any level at all. Yes, this needs to be discussed everywhere possible.

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Randee. You have a bigger reach than mine. Please help me.

  5. Avatar

    OMG. I guess the morale of the story is to trust your instincts and RUN. I have a problem with men gynecologists and absolutely NO on male massage therapists.

    • JH

      Well yes, but I also hoped to convey how common it is for women to second guess themselves and not realize something like this is happening when they’re in the moment.

      We should never beat ourselves up if something like this happens. It is the fault of the predator, and only the predator.

  6. Avatar

    Holli–I am horrified that this happened to you. So many of the points you made are true in cases of sexual molestation–“you must have misunderstood”, etc. I am signing your petition immediately.

    • JH

      Thank you so much, Kim. Please share if you can–public pressure often makes the difference in this situation.

  7. Avatar

    OMG I can’t express how shitty that is to have happen. In hindsight, it always boils down to instinct. You had an instinct say something was wrong, but we’re so used to ignoring that instinct!

    • JH

      True, Patricia. It was terrible.

      If you could share the petition with your followers, I’d really appreciate it. I’m doing my best to keep this from happening to anyone else.

  8. Avatar

    JH, that is horrible. No man has the right to do that to a woman. I pray you win your battle and your admission saves others from enduring such a horror.

    • JH

      Thank you, Alex. Please share it if you can–your voice will reach a lot more people than mine.

      As always, I’m grateful for your support and friendship.

  9. Avatar

    I was groped on a bus once and I still remember how I froze like a deer in headlights. What happened to you was way, way worse. I’ve signed the petition; I hope the scumbag gets his arse fired. And thank you for sharing your story.

    • JH

      Thank you so much, Cassandra. I’m so sorry that happened to you! Too often that “fight or flight” instinct works against us.

      My greatest fear when telling my story is that someone would say it was no big deal, or that I was overreacting. Thankfully, the only people who have said that are the spa workers, the agriturismo, and my tour guide.

  10. Avatar

    Incredibly disturbing, Holli. This is molestation and assault plain and simple. So sorry this happened to you, especially in a foreign country. You did everything right. Sometimes your mind and body need time to process what happened, and then evaluate. So brave of you to come forward. Big hugs to you.

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Lisa. I appreciate your support, always.

  11. Avatar

    Signed. I was just telling someone today that sexual assault can be a slippery slope situation where you don’t know it’s all gone sideways until it’s too late. I have been there, and I support you.

    • JH

      I’m so sorry you’ve experienced this, Beverly. No one should ever have to endure an assault.

      Your support means a lot to me. Thank you for reaching out. <3

  12. Avatar

    I am deeply saddened, horrified and angry at what has happened to you. You have to try your best to realize that no person knows how they would react until they are in this situation. I commend your bravery for speaking up after this horrific experience. This bastard probably is a predator to tourists and has done this before. I am a victim but when I was 7 and it happened more than once but that is a story of mine and I am here to lend support to you. I mention this to just let you know I understand the feelings. Are you feeling ok or do you feel you need to talk to someone? It may help since you have so many emotions. What if you brought it to the attention of the media? For a completely different reason, my friends, who suffered the death of their baby from SIDS 4 days before they were to leave on a trip, we’re not going to get their trip money back or a voucher of any kind even though they were initially told they would. I was helping and contacting the travel place and nothing was going to happen until I contacted City TV and informed them of my friends’ situation. They landed on the news…..and they got the voucher and trip. Maybe they will respond better once they know the media has the news but, of course, this depends on whether you wish to take it that far or just let it go. I support you no matter what.

    • JH

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Birgit. I’m really sorry you experienced an assault as well, and as a child! That is beyond reprehensible.

      I’ve had a few people ask me in the last hour about the media. I didn’t consider it originally, probably because I *am* the media. But I’m hoping that if this story gets shared by enough people, the media will find out about it organically. If not, it’s definitely something I’ll consider pursuing.

      Thanks for the suggestion.

  13. Avatar

    I’m so sorry this happened to you.
    To be sexually assaulted must be horrific beyond words, but then to have people make you feel like it’s somehow your fault is even worse. Especially when companies are still recommending this place to their customers.
    I’ve signed and shared the petition. I really hope it has an effect
    Debbie

    • JH

      Thank you so much, Debbie. I just don’t understand why the fact that the few women Stefano asked didn’t have a problem with him means that it must be in my head, or I must be some overly sensitive freak of nature.

      It’s maddening.

  14. Avatar

    🙁 Words can’t express how sorry I am this happened to you. It’s not right, and it’s not fair, and it’s really, really scary, because it could happen to any of us. Honestly, had I been in your place, I might have reacted the exact same way. I can see myself not wanting to be rude, or telling myself I’m reading too much into it, and that maybe is the scariest part of all. So thank you for sharing your story. I think you’re incredibly brave for speaking out, and I hope you’ll one day be able to put this horrible experience behind you. *hugs*

    • JH

      Thank you so much, Sara. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to go public. It really can happen to anyone, but it shouldn’t happen to anyone.

      The spa owner has responded on the petition, making it clear he’ll support the spa unless I can get a conviction against the masseur in court, so our only recourse is to warn as many women as we can.

    • JH

      Thanks, Samantha. Please help me spread the word. <3 I don't want this to happen to anyone else.

  15. Avatar

    I am so sorry that happened to you, Holli.

    I think many of us women were raised to be good, to be nice, to not rock the boat, and when we’re put in a situation that forces us to do the opposite, it’s confusing, especially when it’s not an obvious attack. As little girls, we’re taught to yell and fight back when a stranger tries to grab us, but the lessons aren’t as clear cut about what to do when it’s not a stranger, when it’s the dentist or a friend’s brother, and the assault is more insidious.

    Please don’t “forever beat yourself up.” Please.

    • JH

      Thank you, Madeline. That is a huge part of the problem, and one of the reasons I felt it was worth coming forward about what happened to me.

      All I can do now is warn other women about this spa, since the agriturismo will continue to promote it to tourists unless I can “prove” the masseur molested me. So please sign and share the petition. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

  16. Avatar

    holli dear, am really amazed of your behavior, you have associated my name (Mazzetti Stefano) and my company (the farm Pietriccia) to your version of the facts where you say that she was sexually molested by a masseur in a spa, up to here, regardless of right or wrong, you have my deepest sympathy, but what hits mention my name and my company ???
    1-you never told me anything about it in 5 days that you stayed here
    2-I have not suggested it neither I booked the massage
    3-you asked me to remove from my site “Sensory Spa” …. because you claim to have been violated and sexually harassed, and have published my name and company because it does not intend to.
    4-I confirm that I do not take away from my site Sensory Spa, not because I do not consider seriously what you claim to have suffered, but for the opposite reason, because I think it is very serious, so I think you should do regularly report to the police, in the meantime to inform better clineti who demand that treatment, and if the investigations give you reason and a judge will say that you have been sexually harassed, I will be able to say myself and take all necessary steps and precautions to protect my clients, right when I find you generalize “Sensory Spa” which employs hundreds of people without any fault of the incident, as I find it unfair that you mention me and my company.
    5-If you feel harassed, the only party potentially liable is your harasser, not Chianciano Terme, Sensory Spa, G Adventures, Tuscany, Italy, and Stefano Mazzetti and Agrutismo the Pietriccia
    6-I proceeded to book personally and inform, and then ask for advice at least 15-18 different women of different nationalities (not just my wife) who have been here after you, the same massage that you did, by having also informed that in a If a customer had felt harassed ……… NONE oF THEM had the impression of being harassed, in 4 cases, I asked that I would write a statement, just because I was trying to gather information useful for you. ……., I asked several colleagues, we are all connected through our private blog with 110 tourism facilities of the connected area if they had ever received comments about that masseur and no one has had, I asked the police if they had information or had problems with the masseur but no problem, I checked into the spa tourism blog if they had ever received comments from harassment in the massage therapist and no comments, I personally went to talk to the direction of the spa and verified in their blog and also archives them no review of harassment.
    7-no matter how you said yourself, if others have not now or think like you to be a molester, because you’re right, only one is already too !!! But with respect I think you should direct your actions on your harasser, not on others who are missing anything in this matter, I’ll still call to file a complaint to the police, because it is a very serious thing, and for me you’ll have all the personal support for any aid can deliver …….. BUT yOU cAN nOT ASK ME tO VIOLATE tHE LAWS aND sUPPORT yOU BE was sexually harassed in Italy say this without evidence and before a judgment is libel, as libel is against me having me involved with my name and company in this story where I have no responsibility, and even after inquiring just to try to find evidence for your help and support (cmq I understand your state of mind and are in solidarity with you, why do not intend to report you for defamation even if you have hurt me and maligned) ……. but if you are the only one to have had these problems with the masseur, is very serious ok, but not my fault if other women (masseur customers) do not think like you and I have not found nO EVIDENCE ……. are not a detective I did my best, but I repeat it for the third time, you have to make a regular report to the police to who you think has harassed you, do not defame innocent through blogs and I repeat, you must report the masseur and you from me all the help I will be able to give you.

    • JH

      Stefano – how on earth am I supposed to supply evidence to prove what happened to me? Have you even bothered to read my account? Does it sound in any way normal or okay to you? It is not embellished in any way–that is exactly what happened to me. Unfortunately, I did not videotape my massage, which I fear is the only EVIDENCE that would convince you.

      Why would you risk other tourists’ safety and wellbeing just because the few women you asked didn’t have a problem with this guy? Why would I go public if this HADN’T happened? What’s the benefit to me?

      I’ve given you many opportunities to do the right thing before I went public. When G Adventures decided in my favour, that should have been enough evidence for you to stop promoting this spa. What’s in it for you? How much business or money are they giving you?

      It’s only defamation or libel if it’s a lie and you can prove it, and there are no lies here. Why would I name your company and the spa? Because I’m the only one who thinks it’s important to warn other women, apparently.

      Please stop putting the onus on the victim.

      • Avatar

        dear olly, g advetures made no inquiry, I made me for them and I reported results, the results did not show any harassment, for what means the law as sexual harassment, g adventures called me to decide how to behave and they wanted to try to be sympathetic to refund your massage and give vouscher, and I was okay too, because actually what happened you know just you and masseur, and I tried in every way to find evidence to proceed ag adventures together for a cause legal against the massager ….. but there are not and there are other people have reported the same impressions ………….. g advetures has removed mention spas of respect towards you , and i was happy in the sense that what could give relief to you, no matter what happened, our work is groped to do the best possible for our customers that allude …………. I have this position because riscuoterei money from the spa ……….. ahahahhahaha, I would love ….. unfortunately for me is false ………. suggest that massage because like customers, but you continue to attack me for no reason …… you need to advertise your blog ??? or to vent frustrations ?? or demonstrate your journalistic talent ?, ok, no problem, do it, I’m not preuccupato that you mention my name and my company, are sorry for you, you’re hurting herself, and uses the word harassment is very serious to your whims or resentment towards the masseur, ……….. I do not doubt that you had felt harassed ……….. but I can not say I ,, ,,,, laura asked you if you wanted to make a police report …… you answered no …… then ask the last day of the repayment of the massage to us when we were leaving the next morning and there ‘was a way to go even to the spa to speak …….. really do not understand what you want from ni or what you think you feel harassed responsible …….. ……. complaint harasser ….. I tell you now as you’ve been told by laura you were here ……… you do not want to do what you should, and you soghi us ??? is incomprehensible, ……… this thing does not hurt me, indeed …….. posterolateral your comments on my website, warning of what customers ……. for me is just advertising thanks !!! I am having approached me and my company in a petition which ask “Tell the Farm Pietriccia to stop sending tourists to sexual predator” And despicable, DEFAMATORY, LIBEL ………. customers who read my posts about you with what you’ve written, have their head to evaluate my good faith or not ……… the fact that you feel because you write in a blog …… able to defame incopevoli to your whims ……. makes me sad for you …… because I know I’m serious, I’m not in the least touched or afraid of your comments ………..

        PLEESE STOP YOU TO USE THIS THING VERY VERY SERIUS TO MAKE PUBLICITY TO YOUR BLOG……….I DID NOT NOTHING WRONG…….

        • JH

          I don’t know who told you that Laura asked if I wanted to go to the police, but she did not. She said she would tell you, and you would talk to the spa, end of story. I would have gone to the police if it had been presented as an option. I had no reason not to go. No one asked me if I wanted to go back to the spa, but why would I? So I could see that man’s face again and have everyone tell me I overreacted?

          As for G Adventures, all I know is what they told me. They said they had conducted their own investigation. But how can anyone investigate this without my participation? All you did was go to the spa and listen to their lies.

          This has nothing to do with showing off my “journalistic talent.” You didn’t care about a thing I had to say until you found out I wouldn’t keep it to myself. Now, suddenly, it’s a big deal.

          If enough women find out about this that one tourist decides not to go to that spa, that’s wonderful. And if enough women find out about this, other victims will come forward.

          I am NOT the only one this has happened to. I’m just the only one who talked.

          • Avatar

            dear holli, still involved, do you think you scare me by asking support from your blogger or petitioners against me, I have no responsibility …….. tell me “do the right thing,” I’m doing it !, respect you but I make me tenderly, I’m really sorry for you and your behavior only harm yourself and other innocent unfortunately, despicable behavior, and compulsive liar, with quele defame and slander many innocent you involved
            .
            1-your conversations with driving occurred inside my property all videotaped by the system of internal cameras, regularly reported in all languages ​​at the entrance structure ….. are you sure you have not been offered support for your claim ?? ? I have video that says otherwise !!!, but it is not important, regardless of our kindness or not to have you support offered (and we did it, but you refused), the police station is next door to my hotel, if you wanted to do enough you were doing 300m and you walked by the police, only way that yOU COULD PARTICIPATE iN SURVEYS …… if not interesting to you, to me, and I do not break laws to your whims and failings, I can help as my duty, but you who must do it !!!!!

            2-the only ones permitted to official investigations are police officers, not me, not the leadership, not the agency, but you did not want to do.

            3-ahahahha, do sarcasm of my seriousness
             in protecting my clients …. and kept for you what ??, you put in the midst of innocent not me,
             
            3-How about being moletstata, but you were for 1 whole hour with your ALLEGED stalker …… why did not you go away ??, why did not you scream ?? there were about 300 customers and many people employ about 3 meters from you !! … please consider you reported the incident in the office reception? because you do not want to report to the police ??

            4- “I am NOT the only one this has happened to. I’m just the only one who Talked.” your words …… Says who ?? it is true because you say so ?? holli my dear, you’re not the only one to learn about internet ….. you say to me that I have not done anything, and I suspect with the police, did research on blogs, forums, personal blogs accommodation, talked to acquaintances, customers, tourist guides, tourist agencies etc ….. spending many hours of my time to groped to find other people like you claim to have suffered harassment by the masseur …… NOTHING !!!! You’re right that does not mean it did not happen to you, it’s true, then I say why you did not make a complaint? only true way to really help any other women!

            5-why have requested reimbursement of the cost paid for the treatment agency, AND ACCEPTED DISCOUNTS FOR FUTURE HOLIDAYS … and not directly at the spa? You have not booked directly did the agency for you, and we we supported you to call the phone only, but you could well call on you, as does the majority of customers ……. you had groped to have some economic benefit and you knew that if you went directly to the spa to chidere repayments not them you would have had ??

            6-thou doest promoter and spokesperson of delicate women vilifying slanders of structures and people without blame ?? this is the way to stop the harassment ??? do not you realize that YOU are harassing and damaging innocent ?? because you talk about me? of my company? of my country? in my region? spa in general? … there are hundreds and thousands of honest people who work there, and you generalize and slander and accusations of all !! you are preparing to chidere economic repayments as you have already done so with the agency ??

            7- if something had happened to my wife, she would not have asked for economic repayments, would make complaint ….. but probably see it differently ….. she would be interested to stop (if true) the My abuser … instead ask repayments !!! and then you boast to make the interest of poor women delicate, REALLY SAD EVERYTHING …….

            8- since you are interested in economic repayments, you should try it with others and not me, because I have no money to “give you”, on the contrary, I await the court’s decision on the complaint made by me against you for “half a defamation Press “(this is the Italian article which includes internet defamation and slander) and” reputational damage “……… where the courts will find in your writings criminal offenses punishable by Italian law and condemn you to pay damages …… they will donate THE ENTIRE AMOUNT oF MY POCKET OTHER THAN sOME ASSOCIATION fOR THE PROTECTION oF hARASSMENT AGAINST WOMEN …….. I unlike you ……. not speculate on these series questioni..e do not want money in my pockets that result from these matters ….

            -continuous to write about me please, do not stop, the more you write more material I have to give to the judges …. thank you !:

          • Avatar

            Stefano,

            I’ll keep this simple.

            1. Women who go through something like this often don’t think of going to the police because they are scared, ashamed, and shocked.

            2. She’s not asking you to investigate.

            3. While being molested, women are scared! They don’t know what the molester will do if they scream. And they feel paralyzed in the moment, unable to do a thing to stop him or get help.

            4. The only thing she wants you to do is to take down the endorsement and to stop sending tourists to this spa. Your family and friends can go all they want.

            5. She doesn’t want money.

            6. She’s not trying to put the spa out of business. She just wants you to stop promoting it and sending foreign women there, who could experience the same thing.

            7. Getting her money back for that disgusting massage is not a bad thing. NO woman would want to pay someone for that.

            8. Again, she’s not asking you for money. She wants you to take down an endorsement and to stop sending tourists there who may experience the same thing. That’s all.

            She hasn’t done slander. Or done anything to ruin your reputation. Her account isn’t false. She has nothing to gain. And she’s not being malicious. You have actually said some nasty things to her.

            She’s just wants you to take down an endorsement and to stop sending tourists to a spa. Nothing more. It’s pretty simple.

          • JH

            Thank you, Chrys. Not that he’ll listen to anyone but himself, but thank you. <3

          • Avatar

            Stefano, as a complete stranger to all of you and having just discovered this controversy and read all the points of view I have to say you are not helping yourself with your comments here. There is no reason for this lady to be saying what she’s saying other than IT HAPPENED and she’s trying to stop other women risking the same thing. It’s so clear she has no other agenda it’s hardly worth saying. YOU on the other hand MUST have an agenda and it can only be that there is a financial relationship between you and this dodgy spa that you don’t want to jeopardise. Well too bad. Either you stick by the people who sexually assaulted her and show yourself to be untrustworthy OR you stop promoting them and show you are indeed an ethical business who cares about their customers. The only reason to keep promoting them is a cheap pointless grab for cash in which case how can anyone respect or trust you? Do the right thing by this lady, your customers, your staff & your business and stop promoting a spa that allows its staff to assault women. End of story.

  17. Avatar

    Horrible experience…
    “if someone EVER makes you feel uncomfortable, whether a masseur, doctor, dentist, or even a friend–don’t wonder if you’re overreacting. Don’t worry about being a bitch, or a prude, or try to be polite.”
    I’m sure that you would act the same at any moment, it just happened you didn’t for all the reasons you mention and you might have begun to overthink when the moment passed.. I’m sorry you’ve experienced this and hope you won’t remember it long…
    Thanks for sharing, I’ll sign the petition to support you.
    Next time come to Serbia, I’ll show you around and find a professional, legal and handsome masseur for you 😉 Best regards!

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Zeljka. I appreciate your support. It will certainly be a long time before I return to Tuscany!

  18. Avatar

    You are a strong, beautiful, amazing woman.
    No one can take that from you.
    Down the road, there may be some potholes that are hard to navigate. Know that you have friends you can talk to or lean on.
    Be good to yourself. You deserve it. You matter.
    Not everyone is able to do what you’re doing. That is important.
    Keep moving forward.

    Heather
    hgardner28@gmail.com

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Heather. Your support means the world to me. I can’t believe this guy is still expecting me to give him evidence. What evidence, other than my word and reputation?

  19. Avatar

    Holli, I’m terribly sorry to hear about that. The victim should never be blamed. So sorry you went through that.

    • JH

      Thank you, Loni. Unfortunately, they’re still blaming me. Please help spread the word so this doesn’t happen to another woman.

  20. Avatar

    Stefano,

    The facts are pretty clear here.

    1. Holli is not lying. I’ve known her for a long time and her memory is frightfully accurate. If she says that is what the masseur did, that is what he did, no more and no less.

    2. What he did was wrong. It’s expensive, traumatic, and damn near impossible to prove legally, but you, I, and everyone else knows it was wrong.

    3. That you continue to refer women to this spa, where they might also be abused, is disgusting. It doesn’t matter whether Holli was the first woman he abused, the last one, the only one, or just one in a long line. Even once is too much. If he is not fired, the very least you can do as a human being is to help protect future women from being assulted.

    • JH

      Bravo, Chris. I agree! And until that day comes, the only recourse we have is to make sure as many women know about this spa as possible.

  21. Avatar

    Holli ~ I am so sorry that this happened to you on what should have been a wonderful vacation. That a terrible and vulnerable position you were in.

    • JH

      Thank you so much, Dianne. Please help get the word out to every woman you know.

  22. Avatar

    DEAR Holli, I really do not understand what and how I come in on this question ……., do not speak English and I write with a translator if you want to know very well what I have to say we have to speak Italian, or talk to me on the translator line …….. and do not know what is perceived by my words.
    you do not have to convince me that he had been sexually abused by the massage therapist, but the judge and the court police, I have no responsibility in what happened ……… sustain you, and I can not say that you have suffered harassment sexual them and with that person, except in Canada, here we are in Italy, and Italy is to slander and defamation …. if I said such a thing could be terminated if what you say ……. is true or not, you know just you and the masseur, …….. you who put my name and company in a petition and the blog to ask that I do not suggest + spas where they make sexual harassment. …… questioning my seriousness and professionalism, I know my choices to take it from me, I do not need petitions …. if you have had problems but not serious …… you had them with me ,,,, then take it possibly with the masseur ……. I think of you as the other hundreds of dovnne who say different things from you ……. is not my job to judge , my job and become a farmer and manage my farm ….. help my clineti sceglere thing to do if you ask me …….. I personally have never asked for anything, as I you said what had happened ……, many other customers have asked me to book maggaggio same fact by the same person, I warned them that (without your name) a clinete had felt harassed …… ..but if clineti coming and many specifically, they do not give your opinion and want to go I can not impedirgelo, moreover, remain all happy.
    you have generalized and involved me and people or companies that do not have any responsibility in this ……… talk of Chianciano, the farm Pietriccia, spas in Tuscany, sensory spa ………. ……. engage hundreds of innocent people for something that concerns only you and the masseur …… and pretend that everyone has to say, you’re right …….. sexual harassment of women , are a very serious and very delicate thing, but it’s you who abuse concepts, generalizing and involving innocent ………. there are hundreds of massage therapists in the area, thousands in Tuscany, sensory spa is a public company divided into at least 7 different parts, but you, you go to a single massage therapist and mentions but also all those who are not responsible, my job as an owner of farm is to build on the information that is given to me, and I did it ….. .dico what you claim to have suffered …… more of this I have no power to do, …………..
    you write: Tell the Farm Pietriccia to stop sending tourists to sexual predator ……… making believe to those who read me to do it and they are aware, this is slander, defamation and urging clineti not to trust me. ………

    • JH

      Stefano, let’s be honest.

      This isn’t about you doubting my story or asking other women if they’ve had an issue with the masseur.

      It’s about money. You get money from this spa because you promote them. And you don’t want to stop promoting them and lose the money just because one guest “claims” she was sexually molested.

      There is no defamation here. I asked you in private if you would remove the spa’s advertisement from your website and you said no. That is all I’ve said against you. I feel I have no choice but to warn other women from this spa BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT. I have not left any negative reviews about your agriturismo, and I hope I never have to.

      The option to go to the police was not given to me when I was in Italy. You didn’t suggest it to me, and neither did Laura. Not once was this mentioned. If it had been, I would have gone to the police. I have nothing to hide. I also really needed guidance at that time–guidance that was never given to me. You both were so busy protecting the spa.

      Do you think I wanted this to happen to me? Maybe other therapists work at that spa, but if the spa cares about them they should fire this predator. Instead, they’ve blamed the victim.

      So I have no sympathy for them.

      Please do the right thing, Stefano.

    • Avatar

      Stefano,

      You say, “there are hundreds of massage therapists in the area, thousands in Tuscany.” Then why are you so insistent about promoting this specific spa on your website? It’s obvious you’re getting a kickback for sending tourists there, or at the very least that they’re paying you to advertise them.

      This is a really simple situation: either you believe Holli or you don’t. If you believe she was molested and you don’t do anything to protect future women, you’re in the wrong. If you don’t believe women who say they’ve been molested, you’re making it even harder for future ones to come forward–this is why women are so reluctant to report sexual assaults. No one enjoys being criticized and called a liar.

      So if you don’t believe her, you’re part of the problem. If you do believe her, and continue to promote this spa, you’re part of the problem. The right thing to do is to help protect future women from being assaulted by not accepting advertising from this spa or recommending them in any way. I hope you do the right thing.

  23. Avatar

    Holli, I am so completely heart broken that this happened to you. A masseur should walk you through what they are doing, make sure you’re comfortable, and never cross that line to sexual assault. I will sign your petition.

    As for the above comment from Stefano, he seems to not get why you don’t want him to promote that company. He says what happened to you wasn’t his fault, and I get that, but by him promoting it he is putting other woman at risk of going through what you went through. Anyone who wants to protect clients would stop endorsing a company after something like this. You’re right…once is one too many times. He obviously doesn’t know how hard it is to get a judge to side with a victim in something like this. And just because the women he asked didn’t feel anything was wrong doesn’t mean that every tourist feels the same way. Also, most victims don’t report what happened right away. That doesn’t mean anything. I don’t know why he continues to promote this company when one of HIS clients said she was sexually molested. If he gets no money from them than there’s no harm in raking down the endorsement, and to stop sending his clients there.

    And the fact he could say those things to you that he said in his second comment is just wrong. He should apologize for that.

    • JH

      Thank you so much, Chrys. He does get money from them–why else would he promote them on his website? If the spa isn’t paying him, it must at the very least be a “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” arrangement.

      I just wanted him to do the right thing by not promoting the spa to tourists. He didn’t have to tell every guest, “Hey, one of my guests was molested there!” but he should stop actively promoting it. There is a happy medium he just doesn’t get.

      The only power I have is speaking up in an attempt to warn other women. If you can share with your circle, I’d really appreciate it. This has to go further than me to be effective.

      Thanks for your support. <3

  24. Avatar

    Stefano,

    You say, “there are hundreds of massage therapists in the area, thousands in Tuscany.” Then why are you so insistent about promoting this specific spa on your website? It’s obvious you’re getting a kickback for sending tourists there, or at the very least that they’re paying you to advertise them.

    This is a really simple situation: either you believe Holli or you don’t. If you believe she was molested and you don’t do anything to protect future women, you’re in the wrong. If you don’t believe women who say they’ve been molested, you’re making it even harder for future ones to come forward–this is why women are so reluctant to report sexual assaults. No one enjoys being criticized and called a liar.

    So if you don’t believe her, you’re part of the problem. If you do believe her, and continue to promote this spa, you’re part of the problem. The right thing to do is to help protect future women from being assaulted by not accepting advertising from this spa or recommending them in any way. I hope you do the right thing.

  25. Avatar

    Well, this blew me away, Holli. I’ve had massages in many countries and believe me what you describe can’t be construed as even coming close to an appropriate, professional experience.

    I can’t believe the tour company would continue to promote that spa after what you reported to them. One piece of that “therapist’s” behavior would be grounds for completely separating from them. Stefano’s not doing his business any good, translator or no translator.

    So sorry this happened to you. A personal invasion like this is not only scary, it puts into question one’s self-confidence and assaults one’s dignity. I think you’ve taken a huge step toward getting over the experience by posting this for comment.

    • JH

      Thank you, Lee. I appreciate someone else who’s familiar with massage weighing in. I’ve had massages in Bali, Lombok, and Greece as well as Canada, and nothing about this seemed normal or appropriate to me.

      The tour company did the right thing once I went over my guide’s head. The agriturismo did not. I can’t understand Stefano’s reaction. If I suggested a spa to a guest, and she came back in tears, saying she was assaulted, I would be horrified. I’d demand the resignation of the perpetrator and immediately withdraw my support from the spa if they continued to employ him. I would do whatever it took to stop it from happening to another woman.

      But instead, he blames the victim, hurling nastier and nastier insults. I want money now? When have I ever asked him for any money? I want publicity? For being sexually assaulted? Hardly. His behaviour astonishes me.

      • Avatar

        Hello Holli,
        only now i find the time to start commenting to your petition. i am astonished, to say the least, about the way you described mine and Stefano’ attitude regarding what happened. As a woman, when you told me your feelings about what had happened at the Spa that I had suggested to you i felt deeply sorry. I had admitted to you that i did not know what a Tibetean massage was like and that i felt that i should have asked more question to the receptionist that have booked your massage because i did not know personally what was like. I did my best to show you my support and my concern while you were here in tuscany and i was your tour guide. I talked to you several times about it, stressing at one point, that My position could only be the one of an intermediary between you and the Spa. As i tour guide, i told you, my position is the one of a Professional figure who suggest activities, restaurants, services to my clients but i can never in any situation take personal responsibility for the way those services are provided. You sign up for a group tour, as an adult woman who, even in the worst case scenario has to take the full responsibility and decision towards the service providers.
        I am deeply sad about your attitude towards me and Stefano. We did all in our power, while you were here, to show you our support in whatever you wanted to do against the Spa.
        Hollli, i did told you that if you wanted to take a legal action against the Spa i would have supported you, but honestly i did not stressed this because while here, you Never talked about Sexual Assaults in my presence. As a woman, i have tried to make you feel comfortable here with us after your experience at the Spa and honestly thought that asking you to go back to the Spa or go to the Police may have made things worst, i only wanted you to enjoy your staying here in tuscany. So did Stefano. I feel deeply sorry because as a professional but also sensitive person your comments towards me were very frustrating. me and Stefano work very, very hard to make sure our clients have the best possible experience and seeing the you are blaming us for what has happened its simply unfair to me. Chianciano is a Spa town, it does not make sense that Stefano takes away the Terme Sensoriali from his website. It would not fix anything, and it would not give you back your dignity if this is the most important thing to you as a woman that has been sexually assaulted. Holli i repeat, we do work very hard here and i am really sad to see that you have not been grateful, not even a little bit, for all we did for you here. If you were by yourself, it would have been you against the Spa, thats it. Stefano went out of his way to make sure there was a proper investigation about this event. There was but the Spa decided to take the part of their employee. When i told you that, i repeatedly told you that if you were Not satisfied with that, you were Free to take any actions your thought appropriate. Holli, again, as agencies, intermediaries we can only suggest actions, give you opinions, we cannot take action for you. I understand that you were seriously shocked while you were here, but you have been in Italy for many other weeks after Tuscany. I could you only accept a 70euros refund if you thought you were sexually assaulted. I would accept that if i think as service was not excellent, maybe not good at all, but Not if i feel i sexually assaulted. Why instead of blaming me you have not asked my support to take a legal action against the Spa. i am a woman you know, i would have done anything to make sure the masseuse would have been punished if you only had told me you realized you had actually been sexually assaulted.
        Holli its a shame that you are actually blaming the only people that have tried to help you. We would have continued to help you in the proper way.

        • JH

          Laura, you did not help me. As I said in my post, when I first told you, you were very supportive, yes.

          But the very next day–after Stefano told you the spa denied fault and that his wife and her friends went there without a problem–you changed your tune, telling me it was “my opinion” and that I should just forget about it and enjoy my vacation.

          I’m not sure why the fact that I didn’t want to pay for being molested (the 70 Euros) has any bearing on this. Yes, I accepted a refund, but it wasn’t hush money, and I told you I would pursue this when I got home. Which I did.

          You misunderstand–I don’t want my “dignity back as a woman.” I have never lost my dignity. What I want is for other foreign women–tourists–to know that this happened to me before they go to that spa for a massage. ALL I want is for this to never happen again. I’m not asking for money, publicity, or anything else.

          Your response at the start was appropriate, but the very next day you backtracked. I guess you don’t remember me arguing with you and getting quite upset. I guess you don’t remember me asking who was on my side, who was my advocate.

          It was pretty obvious Stefano had a business relationship with that spa, and that you cared more what Stefano thought than for the wellbeing of one of your tour members, who was shocked, grieving and sickened.

          You’re right; I didn’t say the words “sexual assault” to you. But I did tell you exactly what happened to me–and what happened to me IS sexual assault, at least under Canadian law. After I spoke to the RCMP, I didn’t discuss it further with you, as you just called me “baby” and told me to let it go. But the other women are fully aware of what I was going through, even if you weren’t. As Stefano even asked them why they didn’t want to go to the same spa, it was obvious he wasn’t taking what happened to me seriously.

          I hope that if this happens to someone else on one of your tours, you will handle it better. And I will be taking legal action against the spa, if it is at all possible to do so, as well as Stefano if he continues to threaten me and attack my character. I have not once attacked his character or yours–I only related exactly what happened to me and how you both reacted.

          Oh, and just so you know, nothing he did to me is typical of a Tibetan massage. He’s a predator–the type of massage had nothing to do with it.

        • Avatar

          It’s perfectly reasonable for her to accept & expect a refund for that appalling experience, that’s the very LEAST that should happen. If you paid to go on a fairground ride and it collapsed and permanently injured you the LEAST YOU would expect is a refund…. why should it be any different when someone is sexually assaulted? Do you think it’s such a minor thing she should not only accept what happened to her but expect to PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING SEXUALLY MOLESTED AS WELL? What kind of sick attitude is that? And why should this lady have to think of Stefano’s precious business and feelings and not make waves when HE keeps promoting a business that assaults women? Have you no shame Laura that you expect a woman to put up with assault, pay for it and allow other women to be tricked into risking the same thing? YOU & Stefano need to do the right thing. His and you businesses rely on people trusting you to do the right thing by them in a strange land. At the moment, you can’t be trusted to do that. If you want to protect your business EARN that trust and stop promoting dodgy tourist businesses. It’s NOT rocket science.

          • JH

            Thank you so much for your comments, Terry. It’s nice to have a voice of reason speak up.

    • Avatar

      dearC. Lee McKenzie, you use my name..you know me??? woth you thing is my job……..pay money that she ask us before go way to refound her massage?, i never speek about with holli about…..never sche ack me something….woth you thing i wrong?…..is correct put my name in this thing were i have nothing to do?…..you will be happy if i use your name to say false thing about you?? wy i’m in this petiction?? my fot is live in terme……ok that is trou, i live in italy toscana chiancianoterme guilty of woth???? ti live in here?

      • JH

        Stefano, you know very well that Laura acted as our go-between because you do not speak English well (obviously). You knew what happened to me, because you hugged me and said, “I’m sorry for what happened to you.” If you didn’t know all the details, that’s too bad–I have no idea what Laura told you or didn’t tell you, but I trusted her to speak for me.

        You also know that I sent you an email asking you to remove the ad before I started the petition.

        If you have video of me saying I won’t go to the police, I would love to see it. I’d also love to see the one where Laura asked how the “massage” was and I burst into tears. I’d love to see the conversations I had late into the night with the other women in the group, where we discussed what my options were. Where Shanta held me while I cried.

        Tibetan massages do NOT involve breast exams, crude comments, or sexual remarks. Please stop trying to hide behind this “Tibetan massage” excuse. If you have no stake in the spa, why do you continue to defend them? Why do you promote them?

        If this petition and my feelings mean nothing to you, stop commenting on my blog and petition! I have let you have more than your say. In your last comment, you insinuated that my sexual assault was funny, or “for my next comic book,” and then said that I had mental problems.

        Nice. Who is defaming who? You are hurling childish insults while I’m just trying to help protect other women–something you don’t care about.

        You’ve had plenty of opportunity to speak your mind, and all you do is insult me and my supporters and suggest I am lying or insane. Any further comments you make of this nature will be deleted.

        I’ve had enough. I hope nothing like this ever happens to someone you love, because we all can see how supportive you are.

  26. Avatar

    Holli,
    we could go on forever. You said i did not help you, i think i did what i had to do. i did encouraged you to pursue this when getting back home, but i certainly did not think to see this kind of public comments about me and Stefano. I think it’s ridiculous that you are blaming us for what has happened. You put my name and surname in your public petition and pretend i dont say anything, i really do not understand what are you trying to do or express with this. I dont understand why are you not taking direct legal action against the Spa instead of publicly mention me and my job and Stefano and his business. It’s very unrespectful and offensive. Stefano lives and run a business in a Spa town, how can you ask him to remove the Spa from his website. Do you think we are going to encourage travelers to take a Tibetan massage after what has happened to you? we dont need a petition to realize that it is not a good idea. if , on the other hand you want this guy to be fired and judge for what he did, well Holli you do need to direct your charges to the Spa. Not to Stefano nor to me. I think its position its pretty understandable.

    • JH

      Laura, I named you both so if other tourists are in your care, they will know they have to protect themselves.

      How can I ask him to remove a spa from his website? Are you kidding me? How can he continue to promote it? Oh, he should just keep sending people there, hoping that if this happens again, the woman will keep quiet?

      I’m not pretending you didn’t say anything–your comment is still on my blog, but I’m tired of being lied about and accused of terrible things. I’m tired of hearing that being reimbursed for that terrible experience means I was in it for the money.

      You seemed reasonable, so as angry as you are at me right now, I cannot believe you would defend Stefano’s words or his actions. He has attacked me personally, said I have mental issues, said my sexual assault was a comedy, etc. Why aren’t you taking him to task for his behaviour?

      He’s said many times that this petition means nothing to him, so I wish you’d both stop commenting on it if that is the case.

      I *am* pursuing legal action against the spa, but that doesn’t resolve itself overnight.

      Stefano is thinking of Stefano. You are thinking of Stefano. I am thinking it’s worth upsetting Stefano is there’s a chance I can warn other women about this place.

      The things you’ve both said about me are offensive and disrespectful as well.

      You may not encourage a Tibetan massage, but “Tibetan” was just an excuse. I don’t feel female tourists are safe when going to this guy for ANY “treatment.”

      Please think of this from my side, as upset as you are. I don’t WANT to do this. It’s humiliating. It’s awful. It’s taking time I don’t have and it’s extremely frustrating.

      But someone has to think of the other women who may go to this guy, especially if the agriturismo says it’s a good spa–even through their website. And I guess that fell to me. I did not choose this.

      For whatever reason, it chose me.

      • Avatar

        holli hello, I’m the wife of Stefano, I have served you and nice tidying and cleaning farm for five days you were here, Stefano and the others have done to you to eat, explained that oil during cooking and everything else .. ………. if i had found something in your comments regarding our services, or our faults, the criticism would have been very useful to us to understand how to improve ….. instead, write in order to make understand that we are accomplices of rapists and sexual harassment we promote to our customers by putting them in danger, in other companies not ours.
        I’m a woman and mother, and here we are a modest peasant family, we welcome you into our home, and I do not know how I and my family can be hazardous to our clients as you replied to Laura.
        I am amazed of the superficiality with which you write us falsehoods that have nothing to do with our services and we, we have exposed to criticism and crazy threats that reading your blog and petition we believe accomplices molesters.
        we have received email threats from your followers who say brucieranno our farm with all inside, I, all of us, but especially my son and nephew of 5 years Thank you, we will try to burn with dignity, and not preuccupare you, we not diffamiamo your family your gennitori your children as Canadians, as you have done to us, for the sins of the criminal who in toronto stole candy from a baby, we would speak of the criminal who has done something very serious to steal candy, we are both women, but probably two different species.
        best wishes for your life, activity, and I wish you all the best as possible.

        • JH

          Serena and Stefano, I am saddened to hear that “my supporters” have threatened you. That was certainly never my intention, and I don’t agree with their actions–whomever they might be. I have no knowledge of this, other than what you’ve posted here. But I do know no friend of mine would do such a thing.

          All I’ve wanted from day one is for you and Stefano to remove one ad from your website and to not promote that particular spa–apparently there are “thousands” of others that you could promote instead.

          I suspect the threats you’re receiving–while horrible and misguided–have more to do with the cruel threats and criticisms Stefano has posted here and on my petition. His callousness and cruelty have angered people more than my little petition ever could.

          We are indeed two different species if you think it’s okay to ridicule a woman who has experienced abuse of this kind, openly mock her, call her a liar, and suggest she’s doing this for publicity.

          I don’t need more publicity in my life, thank you, and certainly not for this.

          That said, I am sorry for your suffering and that anyone threatened you or your family. That was never my intention. I thought this would be resolved quickly and relatively quietly.

          You have my sympathy, even though I don’t and have never had yours.

  27. Avatar

    I experienced something similar. It wasn’t a massage situation, but I also remember thinking the way I was being touched had to be an accident. It wasn’t–he may have started subtly but it was assault from the beginning. I froze and it felt like my throat was burning. There was no way I could have willed my body to do or say anything to stop the situation. Even though it didn’t go beyond touching I was in panic mode. I think that’s a pretty common response.

    I am so sorry this happened to you and that you continue to be dismissed by some. Thanks for speaking out.

    • JH

      Thank you, Sasha. I’m beyond sorry that this happened to you, but thank you for validating my experience.

      Stefano and Laura have their reasons for dismissing what happened to me. If I wasn’t assaulted, but am instead just an overreacting, silly tourist uncomfortable with an “emotional” (barf) massage, then they have no responsibility to protect me, to warn other women, to change their way of doing things at all going forward.

      It’s much easier to write me off as a crazy person or someone with ulterior motives that to admit a woman was sexually assaulted on their watch, at a spa they assumed was safe.

  28. Avatar

    It is typical to blame the victim. It is typical for a businessman to whitewash the whole affair. I am furious. I have long worried about you traveling and going alone into situations in foreign countries. Most people are only as good as the amount of witnesses present. I am sick at heart at what happened to you.

    • JH

      Thanks, Roland, but a spa in Tuscany? Of all the situations I could have gotten myself into in all the foreign countries, this one should have been the safest. I can’t believe that about other people–I believe that most of us are goodhearted souls. Sadly, not too many in this particular situation.

      Thank you so much for your caring and concern. It means a lot to me. <3

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    Wow, Holli. I am so sorry to hear about this incident and what happened to you. It is tough to admit that something bad is happening while one is undergoing it, because we always seem to think we must be over reacting. I have been in uncomfortable situations as well and you always think they will end well. When they don’t, you are, indeed, shocked about the reality of it all and have no idea and usually not the right mindset to do something about it or report it, especially in a foreign country. My experience in Italy has been that a lot of men are flirty and “touchy”, often in an inappropriate way. We need not allow them to get away with behavior like that. I always say that I love Italy, except for its macho men. It has been a long time since I visited. I personally would hope and press for that masseur to be fired and the spa to admit the fault of its employee. That would alleviate the event to be repeated. And, hopefully, they would do extra effort to make sure this would never happen again. Best of luck with your actions and intentions!

    • JH

      Thank you so much for the kind words and support. I’m not sure the spa will ever admit fault or fire the employee, as we already tried that route, but I have since gone to the police and the consulate. We’ll see if anything happens.

      I can happily report that Italian men are much less touchy and aggressively flirty with women now–at least the ones I encountered. The public whistling and hissing, etc. that made women so uncomfortable doesn’t seem to happen now. The man who molested me was Peruvian–not that I am in any way blaming the Peruvians for this one creep!

  30. Avatar

    Not trying to say that he was innocent or anything but I think it’s a common thing in Italy as that’s what most of my friends told me

    • JH

      So if it’s common for a masseur to inappropriately touch a client and make lewd comments about her body, that makes it okay? Smh.