Assertive Tara – Bed time Story By Arpan
Arpan shares with you this story and encourages parents/adults to use it as a tool to make children aware about Child Sexual Abuse and discuss Personal Safety Rules with Children in order to create safety nets in our set-ups so that our children may be protected from any such instance.
Once there was a goat named Goaty, who lived on a big farm. The farm had enough grass and a lake nearby that made Goaty very happy and satisfied all his needs. Goaty enjoyed his walks on the farm, chasing butterflies and chatting with other farm animals.
Meaty was another goat that lived on the other side of the lake. Meaty and Goaty would often meet at the lake to drink water, and they soon became friends. One day Meaty invited Goaty to his birthday party the next day. The party was at Meaty’s house. Goaty was excited to receive the invitation. His joy knew no bounds.
Next day, Goaty was very excited to go for the party. He didn’t want to be late and so he woke up early in the morning and dressed up in his best clothes. He then bought some special grass as gift for Meaty.
He then started his journey to Meaty’s home. The lake was too big and deep for Goaty to swim through to reach Meaty’s home. So Goaty decided to take the small, narrow bridge on the lake. As Goaty got on to the bridge, he saw another goat, walking on the bridge from the other side.
The goat was much bigger and stronger than Goaty. Goaty soon realised it was Leepy, the local goon, on the other side of the bridge. All other goats in the farm avoided Leepy the moment they saw him; but Goaty knew he couldn’t escape from Leepy today. Goaty froze at the sight of Leepy and began shivering. He just couldn’t think of a solution.
Goaty was thinking hard to find a way out when Leepy came close and shouted, “Hey, get off the bridge, I need to go to the other side.” Goaty felt afraid, confused and all alone. Goaty was too scared to respond. Goaty kept quiet and thought, “I will get late for Meaty’s birthday party if I Step away from the bridge now.” At the same time, Goaty realised that the bridge was too narrow for both of them to pass through it at the same time. (passive response)
Leepy now noticed that Goaty was too nervous to move, so Leepy pushed Goaty. This made Goaty very upset, and so Goaty pushed Leepy back. Both of them locked their horns and started fighting aggressively right in the middle of the bridge. Leepy was stronger. He was hitting Goaty with very hard blows. Within minutes, Goaty was badly bruised with blood oozing out of his wounds. Goaty had, by now, given up the attack. Leepy had also, by now, pushed Goaty closer to the edge of the bridge. (aggressive response)
Tara the tortoise, who was basking in the sun on the bank of the lake, heard some commotion on the bridge. Tara saw that Leepy, the bully, was pushing Goaty off the edge with all his might. Tara knew that it was too late for her to climb the bridge and physically stop the fight. But Tara was a wise tortoise. She had a plan. She created a loud commotion to distract Leepy.
Leepy was irritated by the noise and angrily turned around to look at Tara, but Tara was not scared. Tara looked at Leepy in the eye and said, “Stop! Do not hurt Goaty!” (assertive response).
Leepy was stunned to see Tara command him in such a manner. Tara’s assertive behaviour caused Leepy to hold himself back a bit. Leepy was surprised to note that Tara was unafraid of Leepy. So, Leepy stopped and decided to listen to what Tara was saying.
Tara saw that Leepy had stopped attacking Goaty and was listening to Tara. She also realised that since Leepy had moved away from Goaty, Goaty was now safe.
Tara shouted out, “You don’t need to fight. There is always a way out of all problems. Leepy, why don’t you lie down, so that Goaty can skip over you? That way both of you will be able to cross over to the other end of the lake very easily.”
Leepy understood the plan and soon sat on the ground. Goaty immediately skipped over Leepy and crossed the bridge. Goaty crossed the bridge happily; and thanked Tara for the wise advice. When Goaty went to the party he told all his friends about how we must always face our problems assertively, not aggressively.
When someone tries to touch your private body parts, the child must be assertive.
Reference Points mentioned in the story:
Look into the person’s eyes without being scared and Say No and Get away.
An aggressive or passive response may lead to the child getting hurt. It is important that children remain unharmed and an assertive response helps in doing that. An assertive response tells the abuser that the child is not afraid of him/her and that the child may go and tell someone about it. This will discourage the abuser from repeating the act with the child.
Tips for parents:
- Children must be trained to be assertive at all times and situations, rather than being aggressive or passive. Being assertive is a key component of Arpan’s module for Personal Safety for children.
Remember: Aggressive children tend to retaliate to abuse and so may either create noise and commotion or may fight back. The abuser, if stronger than the child, may hit or hurt the child to ensure that the child does not fight back or shout.
Assertive children will always find ways to get out of the situation and get help at the right time.
- Children who are conditioned to always be obedient and never question elders are generally observed to be passive. These children are vulnerable to sexual abuse because abusers are constantly on the lookout for such children. This is because abusers are well aware that these children will obey and will hesitate telling their parents about the abuse.
( Arpan is a registered organization based in Mumbai with a mission to Prevent the occurrence of Child Sexual Abuse and heal those who have been affected by it.
With passion and conviction and a trained team of dedicated professionals; clinical and counselling psychologists Arpan began working on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in year 2006. Today Arpan works in a focused manner only on CSA. We are thankful for their continued support in this initiative.
Site Url: http://www.arpan.org.in/ )