Ritu Learns The Touching Rules – Bed Time Story By Arpan

Ritu and Sameer were neighbors and were of the same age. They were best friends and loved to share their toys and play with each other.

 

One day, Ritu’s mother had not returned from the market when Ritu returned from school. Ritu decided to sit in the verandah and wait for her mom. Just then Raghu uncle was entering the building. He saw Ritu sitting all alone and bored in the scorching heat. He called, “Hey Ritu! Why don’t you come and wait for your mother at my place. It is so hot outside. I have a holiday today. Do you want to play a new game with me?”

 

Ritu thought to herself about what Raghu uncle said. It was indeed very hot that day. She was tired after a long day at school. Raghu uncle was known to be a good man as he always treated children in the colony with sweets. Ma also asked Ritu to send delicacies to Raghu uncle on Diwali. Moreover, Ritu always loved learning new games.

 

Ritu was very excited and went over to Raghu uncle’s house. Raghu uncle had a nice and big house and lived alone. Raghu uncle told Ritu to sit on the couch. Ritu felt very lucky to be the one Raghu uncle had chosen to teach the new game. She was excited to learn the game so that she could share it with Sameer and the two of them could then play the game together.

 

As if Raghu uncle was reading Ritu’s thoughts, Raghu told her “The name of the game is the secret game; and it will be our secret game.” Ritu’s excitement was increasing by the minute. She looked at uncle with wide eyes.

 

Raghu uncle thought for a while and said, “I’ll throw a ball towards you and if you catch it you’ll hug me; but if you miss it I’ll hug you, ok?”

 

Ritu didn’t understand the game, but agreed to play it with uncle. She thought, “Sometimes games don’t sound interesting. Let me play the game once and see what it is all about. Then I can tell Sameer more about the game.”

 

Soon uncle and Ritu started playing the game. Ritu tried hard, but was unable to catch the ball. A little later she realized that Uncle would throw the ball a little away from her direction. Each time she missed catching the ball uncle Raghu would smile and hug Ritu and encourage her to catch the ball the next time.

 

She felt uncomfortable when uncle Raghu hugged her. She felt scared too. She was unable to understand her feelings as there were too many of them. She was very confused, so she pulled away and ran back to her house.

 

The following days Ritu didn’t go to play with her friends in her colony because she feared that Raghu uncle would play that secret game with her again.

 

When Sameer didn’t see Ritu for a few days he grew worried. So, he went to Ritu’s house to meet Ritu. He saw her sitting near a window and looking very sad.

He sat down beside her. “Hi Ritu,” he said. “You look so sad. You haven’t come to play with me. Are you angry with me?”

 

She still didn’t reply, but Sameer didn’t stop pursuing her. “Ritu, please talk to me or I will cry,” he said. Ritu turned and saw that Sameer was really worried.  “No Sameer. I am neither ill, nor am I angry with you. I just want to be left alone,” Ritu snapped.

 

Ritu’s rude behaviour confused Sameer. He was unable to say anything to Ritu so he sat quietly. Ritu realized that she had hurt Sameer, her best friend with the rude behaviour. All this, only because of Uncle Raghu who taught her the bad game.

 

Ritu didn’t want to hide the truth from Sameer and so she told him all about uncle Raghu and the stupid Secret Game. Sameer intently listened to all of it.

 

“Have you told your parents about this?” asked Sameer. Ritu hadn’t.

 

Sameer then told Ritu about how one of his aunts would hug him very tightly each time they met and that would make him feel very angry and confused too. “What did you do then?” Ritu was quick to ask.

 

“I told my mother about it. My aunt does not hug me that way anymore.” Ritu was very impressed with Sameer’s response. “Wow Sameer! You are a brave boy! But what can I do? I am not as brave as you are,” sighed Ritu.

 

“Even you can be brave Ritu,” said Sameer. “I think you should go and tell your mother all about it.” Ritu was very confused. There were many thoughts in her mind – “What do I tell Mummy? Will she believe me? Won’t she get angry with me and blame me for what happened?”

 

Sameer knew the task was not easy.  Ritu was very nervous but encouraged her to talk to her mother. Soon it was lunch time. After assuring Ritu that there was no need for her to worry and that her mother would believe all that she would say, Sameer left.

 

That same evening Ritu went to her mother. “Mummy I have something to tell you,” began Ritu and narrated the entire incident. Ritu’s mother was silent but observed her daughter very closely. Ritu broke down and began crying bitterly. Mother soon understood what had happened. She caught Ritu by the arm and said, “I am so proud of you dear. Good that you told me all about it. But why didn’t you tell me earlier darling?” asked mother. “I thought you wouldn’t believe me and would be angry and scold me for going to uncle’s house in the first place,” replied Ritu.

 

Mother hugged Ritu and said, “I am not angry dear. I know it is not your fault and I don’t blame you for anything that happened. Don’t worry. I will take care of this. You need not be afraid of that man. I’ll make sure he doesn’t trouble you anymore.”

 

That night Ritu’s mother taught Ritu The Touching Rules.  When Ritu asked what are touching rules, her mother said “Touching Rules are rules that will help keep you safe at all times. The First Touching Rule tells us that “It is never alright for someone to touch, look at or talk about my Private Body Parts except to keep them clean and healthy. Also, it is never alright for someone to ask me to touch, look at or talk about their private body parts.”

 

“So are the Touching Rules for times when I feel unsafe, like what I did when Raghu uncle touched me?” asked Ritu. “Yes, exactly,” replied mother, “you must use the touching rule at such times. You must say ‘NO!’ loudly and get away from the person or situation.

 

“What are the other times for me to use the Touching Rules?” asked Ritu. Mother said she must use the rule when any person wanted to touch her private body parts (the parts of the body which are covered by underclothes.)

 

Mother further explained that in such situations Ritu must get away immediately and, “tell me or any other adult who you trust and keep telling them till you get help and feel safe.”

 

Ritu was quick to ask, “Mumma, what do you mean by Trusted Adults? Who are they?” Mother explained that, “A trusted adult is a person whom we trust and who believes us. We are never scared of sharing our thoughts, ffelings and fears with our trusted adults because they listen to us and help us out.

 

Ritu nodded and smiled. Ritu hugged her mother and felt relieved.

 

Key message:

 

Touching rule No.1:

“It is never alright for someone to touch, look at or talk about my Private Body Parts except to keep them clean and healthy. It is never alright for someone to ask me to touch, look at or talk about their private body parts.”

 

Touching rule No.2:

If anyone breaks rule no.1, ‘Say No, and Get Away’

 

Touching rule No.3:

After getting away, ‘Tell your trusted adults and keep telling till you get help.’

 

  • A Parent must explore the child’s support system, when explaining this rule to children.

For example: a parent can use this guideline to explain to children: ‘Who are these trusted adults, to whom the child can go for help ?

 

After this information has been imparted, parents can ask the child to list their trusted adults.

Parents may also mention some more people that the child may consider as their trusted adults.

 

Parents must avoid imposing their preferences and let the child decide.

 

( 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/)

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