Growing in confidence and self-esteem to stand up against assault
14-year-old Clara was out one weekend with her friends when they met a group of older boys and began chatting with them. One boy in particular was very friendly to Clara and soon charmed her into taking a walk, just the two of them.
It didn’t take long for him to start pressuring her into making things sexual, insisting that she let him kiss her and touch her. She told him she didn’t want to, and tried to make him take her back to her friends – but he just kept going, undoing her trousers and touching her, until her crying finally made him give up and let her go.
When she got home she was too shaken up to talk to her parents about what had happened. But once she had a few days to think about it she realised that the boy had been wrong to do what he did and she needed to tell someone who could help. Thankfully she had been seeing an east to west Relational Support Worker (RSW) over the previous term and had built up a good and trusting relationship. So when Clara came into school after the weekend she went straight to her RSW and told her everything that had happened. The RSW was then able to go with her to talk to her mum, and together they made the decision to report the incident to the police.
Clara’s mum was understandably shocked and upset at hearing what happened to her daughter, and was in need of some support herself – so she asked our RSW to be with her and Clara when the police came to the school to interview her. That way if she felt overwhelmed at any point the RSW could stay with Clara as the designated accompanying adult.
It wasn’t easy, and Clara’s mum did have to leave the room briefly – but thanks to the RSW’s encouragement she was able to come back in and help support her daughter. Clara was strengthened by the presence of both her mum and the RSW and was brave enough to give the police a full description of the boy and how he had behaved.
Our RSW then continued to meet with Clara regularly over the weeks that followed. She has now been able to process what she went through and begin to move on, as well as thinking about how she might be able to manage a similar situation differently in the future.
Thanks to the support and encouragement of the RSW her self-esteem has grown hugely, and she knows now that she has the confidence to spot potentially dangerous situations and to stand up for herself against peer pressure.
* All children's names and photos have been changed to protect their identity