This is the text of the letter written by Lauren Baxley, one of the many massage therapists who have been sexually assaulted by Deshaun Watson, from the Youtube video posted below:
When you reached out to me through Instagram, I was excited to work with you. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many athletes and as massage therapy is an important component to athletic performance I took it seriously that you would entrust me with your physical recovery. You asked how long I had been a therapist and I told you 11 years. I watched a few youtube clips of quarterbacks during games carefully making mental notes of the pivoting, sprinting and even sacking that occurs in order to best prepare myself for your unique needs.
When you requested a pre-consultation phone call I was happy to oblige you detailed a few items of concern your privacy and areas of desired focus. You made sure to use the words quote unquote professional, Make sure to use the words quote-unquote professional and quote-unquote non-sexual, though I wondered a bit when you mentioned that it was quote unquote difficult for you to find a therapist who was quote comfortable working with you . Certainly if all you wanted was professional work maybe other therapists were simply star struck by your local celebrity. I could not know at that point.
You mentioned needing extra focus in your gluteal area which is standard for anyone particularly an athlete who requires massive sprinting power and short bursts of speed. You texted ‘we still good’ shortly before your appointment on June 2nd. I confirmed and gave you parking instructions while you repeated your privacy concerns . You asked again if we had privacy space I said yes then you asked if you could shower before your service. I found that a little strange but if you were coming from a training session not abnormal. I said you could shower before hand. When you arrived I had you sign a consent form for massage treatment then I showed you the shower room and massage room directing you to get on the massage table face down and under the sheets. After your shower, I stepped out to give you privacy and space and close the doors between us. when you confirm that you were ready for your massage I entered the room and was both shocked and sickened to find you completely nude face down, your full rear was exposed as well as your scrotum. I quickly covered you with a hand towel, as you try to insist that you were both uncomfortable by the towel and you didn’t mind being exposed. I said that I minded and as I attempted to start the session you clearly directed me away from a therapeutic glute massage toward your anus.
Every boundary from professional and therapeutic to sexual and degrading you crossed or attempted to cross. You insisted that I not use my knuckles or forearms but that I use my fingers for digital stimulation which is an ethical violation of massage practice when working in the gluteal area. I compromised by attempting to use the lateral border of my hand. I did not want to touch you but my terror kept me in autopilot and I continued to the best of my ability to give you therapeutic treatment, but at this point it was clear that’s not what you were seeking when you turned over you again exposed yourself, this time your penis. When I covered your groin area you complained again that the very soft towel I had provided was itchy and rough. At that point I carefully covered your groin with a softer head rest cover pulling the towel out from under that so as not to expose you.
You were aroused and removed the cover. When I was working on your upper quad area at which time you moved in such a way that your penis touched my hand. You then told me to just grab it if it was in my way. This happened multiple times and I felt as if the session time was spent trying not to be sick, not have an outburst and keep you covered. In those minutes I considered my past, present and potential clients who were connected to you through the Texans franchise, in your social life with your millions of fans and followers, with your resources and income. I felt both powerless and trapped. My work contract with my building was tied to my lease and at the snap of your fingers I knew my good reputation, my home and my career might be lost. Other than my massage license,I had very little education to fall back on in hopes of finding supportive income. My anger and disgust burned within me both at you and myself, my false sense of shame. In the way I had been cornered did not sit well with my outspoken nature against abuse of any kind.
I have been angry at you for so many reasons since that day in June. I am furious that the talented and hardworking young black man that gave so many children inspiration is nothing more than a predator with power. I am heartbroken for your family for your loved ones for those coming to terms with the fact that your charitable work and good guy persona are nothing more than a meticulously designed facade to keep your victims silent and second guessing themselves. How can such a good man do such terrible things and with frequency and total disregard for his abuse victims you are not a good man.
Anything good that you have done is poisoned by your true nature. Maybe you suffered abuse yourself in the past and maybe you have genuinely attempted to convince yourself as much as us your victims and the general public that you are without fault. Maybe you need intensive and professional long-term help,but that does not humanize you or the terrors you have inflicted upon countless powerless women.
I have written this upon the recommendation of my trauma therapist to forgive myself for not speaking up sooner, to forgive myself for not being braver, but I have also written this so that you can know without excuse or justification that you have deeply and irreversibly brought terror to me and others. There is trauma associated with unwanted sexual contact and assault in a place that’s meant to bring peace and therapy that there are even deeper terrors that you have brought in my life. The terror that my partner might not believe me, the fear of abandonment and loss of my job. I have had fears of being attacked in my own home or business after reading comments from your fans and supporters.
I have felt nausea and heartbreak over seeing accusations that my pursuit of justice is an attempt at receiving fame or money be assured I have worked with far more wealthy clients and with clients who have far more global celebrities none of them have perpetrated sexual misconduct towards me.
I initially came forward to offer solidarity to other women but I have since realized that I am deserving of justice as well I hope the court of law brings that justice and that you’re stripped of both your power and ability to hurt more women