Physical assault, insults, humiliations, threats, theft – the technique may vary but the end result stays the same. It is 'just a game' to some; it is an unbearable situation for those who endure it.
Albeit this phenomemon affects one child out of ten in elementary school and highschool, teachers, school personnel and adults tend to minimise and overlook it, sometimes condoning tragic consequences.
These are the stories of those we call 'scapegoats', those we deem too serious, too gifted, too fat, too skinny or not cool enough, not sassy enough...When in fact there is no such thing as 'too much' or 'not enough' – there's only children being abused by other children.
© Virginie PLAUCHUT
Virginie Plauchut's work revolving around bullying and its tragic consequences aims at describing this violent tendency from the perspective of the subject. The work is all about adressing the topic through kindness and empathy, whilst allowing the oppressed child to accurately express the way he or she experienced this oppression, to depict the universe it brutally locked them in. For this one young girl, the stakes are to render the feeling of suffocation that has become the symptom of her school phobia and social anxiety, both direct consequences of her being bullied at shcool; this one young boy transposes into images the feeling of slowly morphing into a paper pellet, the tool with which he has been bullied. One after the other, each model plays the cathartic game of staging the photograph in close collaboration with the artist, in the intimate space of their own bedroom. Each portrait thus embodies both suffering and resilience.
As a complement to this work on victims and former victims of bullying at school, Virginie Plauchut works on a parallel project revolving around children who took their own life as a consequence of this current issue. These children, who committed suicide as a result of unsufferable pressure emanating from their schoolmates, are also actively involved in this photographic endeavour – "Harcelé(s)".
© Matilde ALSINA