“You have the breath of a manhole”, “You’re ugly like a big trash can”, “Fuck your mother”… These insults, commonplace in playgrounds, on leaving schools and on social networks, affect 6 to 10% of French schoolchildren, According to a Senate report dated 2021. Verbal, psychological and sometimes physical violence that turns into school harassment when they occur repeatedly over long periods of time.
The guilt, shame, fear and suffering generated by these humiliations often have devastating effects on the children and adolescents who are the targets. Because in addition to dropping out of school, isolation and depression, some victims can go as far as suicide. A scourge that the public authorities are trying to eradicate. In particular, a law has been enacted in March 2022. It provides for fines and prison terms for those who harass.
While the strategies put in place to combat this problem often focus on framing the harassers, the documentary School harassment: the Indians counter-attack, directed by Guillaume Estivie, broadcast as part of the “Infrarouge” program on Wednesday November 9, shines its spotlight on the victims and the tools provided by specialized therapists to bullied children so that they can defend themselves.
The therapist Emmanuelle Piquet, who testifies in the documentary, founded the Center Chagrin scolaire, modeled on the methods of thePalo Alto school, created in the United States in the 1950s by Gregory Bateson. At the origin of brief family therapies, this psychological current was the first to develop works that focus on the patient’s interactions with his environment. Trained in these methods, Emmanuelle Piquet puts herself at the level of the victims to teach them how to fight back and helps them to tap into their own resources.
By introducing them to self-mockery, by making them act out scenes like in a theater class in order to develop their repartee, the therapist allows them to de-dramatize these painful situations and provides them, in a playful way, with weapons, which she calls “arrows”, to counter the insults. The ambition is to make these children actors of their liberation by taking them out of their victim position.
“From our height as adults, we can consider that certain teasing, certain bickering are more of the order of stories between children, without consequences, without gravity, observes Emmanuelle Piquet dyears the documentary. HASBasically, the only criterion is his suffering. (…) Sometimes there is a little anger; from my point of view, there are not enough of them. That is to say, it is not at all the essential emotion of bullied children. We have to go find it a bit, because to decide to put an end to the acts of harassment, you need a little anger.
The documentary School harassment: the Indians counter-attack, directed by Guillaume Estivie and produced by Mélissa Theuriau, is broadcast as part of the program “Infrared”, Wednesday, November 9 at 11:05 p.m. on France 2. It will be followed by a debate moderated by Marie Drucker.