A Great Definition of “Bullying” (Not mine!)

 

High school students being bullied.

Last Saturday, I was at some friends’ celebrating the end of rugby season (or rather trying to make it last a little bit longer!) with my husband and two boys. We are not talking adult rugby but Under 9 , so the driveway looked a bit like a school playground gone completely mad with around 15 tough kids running wild!
At one point, I went looking for my 8-year-old as he was nowhere to be seen, and found him, upset, hiding behind the house. He told me that one of the other boys had “bullied” him. I never got the full story but from what I understand, the said boy probably said something mean and carried on playing.

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You can sit with me

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There is one topic I have always been passionate about, as a teacher, a mother and a writer, and this topic is bullying.

I loathe bullying and my heart sinks every time I hear of bullying stories driving beautiful young souls to despair. I believe that no child should feel alone, insecure or threatened.

So when I see a campaign or an initiative which goal is to help eradicate this sneaky from of violence, I need to share it with the world! And I cross fingers people will get on board and help fight this worldwide epidemic.

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Bullying ou le harcèlement scolaire

Over the years, I have found myself faced with the difficulty of having to translate the word “bully” in an educational context.

When I moved to England and was made aware of the extent of the phenomenon through the media, my translator’s mind started ticking … Bullying was also the central theme of my first book “Le pacte des bouffons”. I had to find words to describe a “bully” in French but was never entirely satisfied with the result (“bourreau” still seems a bit too medieval!).
The matter was then made worse and my mind ticked even more…

So I browsed and read and asked many questions…

Though the word “bully” is commonly and often used in English, the French language does not seem to offer a “perfect” equivalent which would convey the same meaning, have the same connotations, or be part of the same register. Also, this subject is often discussed and tackled in countries such as the UK, Australia, the United States, Japan and Canada for example, with campaigns, debates and many books. In France on the other hand, it seems to me that up until recently, the subject was too often avoided or overlooked. This could explain why there is no word commonly used in French to describe a “bully”. Continue reading