Marcel Rufo: "With young people, we must use a common language"

Marcel Rufo, a child psychiatrist, is one of the experts who participated in the development of the national campaign "Take action against harassment in the workplace". 'school ". In particular, he explains why it is essential to focus on raising awareness among adolescents.

Interview by Anne-Laure Vaineau

A new form of harassment, particularly alarming, has emerged. Cyber-harassment adds scale, violence, to the phenomenon. Is this why it became urgent to act?

Marcel Rufo: What fascinates me the most in this campaign is the intervention of Facebook. Because we know that identification in adolescence is both unique and all the same. This is the paradox of this age. With the application "Stop the harassment", Facebook offers them to enroll in a process of courage, since this is to protect the most fragile, the biggest, the most unfortunate etc. Forcing the youth community to think on its own is essential. It's something we could not even imagine before. In the institution where I work, we are setting up pre-consultations on the web, even before the patient meets the psychiatrist. I am sure that is how we will increase opportunities to help young people by using a common language. But this is not seduction, it is simply respecting their communication modalities. And it's really important.

The campaign, and especially the video spots, mainly target middle and high school students. Yet it is the most primary schoolchildren who are victims of harassment. Does this choice seem consistent to you?

Marcel Rufo : Primary school children can be bored too, but they have a teacher, and it seems to me that this reference is essential, because it is the equivalent of parental protection. And then the little ones have less trouble talking. They are less sensitive to shame, are not in a posture, do not doubt themselves as teens may doubt. Prevention must begin at the primary level, even in kindergarten, but it seems consistent to target the college / high school, where vulnerabilities are actually more important.

How are adolescents more vulnerable than children?

Marcel Rufo : In college, the student is much more lonely. Paradoxically, he is confronted with this loneliness, but he is in addition to the others. And if these others reject it, it's even more difficult to live. Adolescence is an age when you really need the group, and being harassed by your peers can be the cause of a very serious injury.Not having a friend, and, worse, having the impression of deserving it ("Because they make fun of me"), pushes the victim to believe that she has reasons to be a victim. This is the key to a great fragility later.


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