My son has been assaulted(English Edition)

The text below is the excerpt of the book  My son has been assaulted( ISBN: 9781646996902 ), written by  Stéphane Bourcet and Isabelle Gravillon , published by  de Vecchi / DVE ediciones .

What is aggression?

Sadly, there are numerous ways to child maltreatment. Beating, maybe rape…but also threats, insults. Violent assault may also consist of humbling criticism expressed by an educator or by parents, overly systematic spanking or even pornography.

Beatings and violence

Some words or phrases tend to evoke scenarios that are quite similar to most people. For example, if we are told about a child or teenager who has been attacked, it is very likely that the same images will come to mind for all of us: the child or teenager in question is walking quietly in the street, two thugs suddenly appear and throw themselves at him to steal his rucksack or his watch, by beating him.

With a few variations, this is the idea we have at first sight of aggression: violence, blows, sometimes even a beating, which occurs without the victim having been involved with anyone. A description that corresponds very well with the definition that the dictionary of the Royal Academy gives of this noun: “Aggression: The act of attacking someone to kill, wound or harm him. Act in contravention of another person’s right. Armed attack by one country on another, without prior notification”. Recall that in the case of the person mentioned, the assault goes through physical contact and violence. Those are two important aspects of the question. The Latin etymology of the word aggression is aggredi or ad gradi, which means “to go towards” but also “to go against” with the idea of attacking and fighting: we see that the will to provoke a body to body contact and the determination to get to the hands are very present in the aggressor.

When the word takes hold

Yes, but so what? We are tempted to say this because there are also many assaults in which the assailant does not touch a hair of his victim… Take the case of blackmail: a child or a teenager can perfectly be brought to give everything he has under the constraint exerted… not through beatings or a weapon, but through verbal threats. This very special and widespread form of aggression does not touch the body (or in any case, not necessarily), but aims at the mind and passes through psychological pressure and intimidation.

Always in this record that ignores beatings and physical violence, one must include the insult that a student from the school, college or institute gives to another, in the middle of the playground, in front of a lot of witnesses.!” You are as fat as a pig, “Piss!”…These are just words, nothing more, and yet they can do a lot of damage and cause injuries that, although not visible on the body, are no less painful for the mind.

The verbal attack that a child or adolescent may suffer from his or her peers should not be taken lightly, far from it. Being attacked, moreover, in public, on its physical appearance or its origins, constitutes a very real aggression. The pain he or she will feel will be different from a bruise, but the humiliation will not be less painful. Humiliation is not only feeling ridiculous, touched in your self-esteem or pride, but it is also something much more violent and profound than that: it affects your own identity, lowered, diminished, it is having the feeling of being non-existent in the eyes of others, of not being in their place. And recovery from these offences is not always easy…Verbal assaults are all the more violent because they are rarely perpetrated by chance. The aggressor has a very conscious intention of harming: that is what characterizes him and gives him pleasure. Like a caricaturist, he will capture a physical, intellectual or family trait present in his victim and distort it, make it larger. The offended person will be reduced to only one aspect of himself, of course, not the most flattering.

When adults get involved

The insult of a peer is a form of assault; the murderous phrase of an adult is another. Naturally, there is no Richter scale of verbal assaults and humiliations that they produce. This does not prevent those uttered by adults from being undoubtedly more devastating in the long term, because they come “from above”, from those who exercise power over children and also over knowledge. It’s better to be treated like a dummy by a schoolmate than by a maths teacher. Insult does not have the same weight, it does not convey the same understandings or value judgements. In the mind of the child and even the adolescent, the word of the adult is not usually questioned: if the latter considers him/her to be stupid, he/she is certainly stupid, believes the young victim…

It is clear that teachers are not the only ones to skate orally. Parents also practise more often than they should the “outbursts”. Phrases such as “What are we going to do with you” or “ But what have we done to have a child like that “, are they not also, in their own way, aggressions? What an exaggeration! We will protest as the parents mentioned, it is only meaningless words that elude us because we are tired, it is a way of speaking. Unfortunately not! Repeated regularly, and too often (this is the case), these expressions enter deeply into the child’s mind and completely undermine his self-esteem.

To develop their identity and image, children rely primarily on what their parents suggest. If they systematically hold negative things against them, the damage will be serious, because the child does not yet possess a narcissism that is solid and established enough to integrate the reproaches and “fit in” the denigration without his whole identity building collapsing.

As for the adolescent, from this point of view, he is no less fragile: in full psychic transformation, in search of his future adult personality, he will live the violence of disdainful words as if they were fists.

Another example of parental assault: contempt, indifference, abandon. Not paying any attention to your child, never taking care of him or her, never spending time with him or her or talking about him or her in your presence as if he or she were not there, yes, all this is also aggression. Just as there is no need for blows, for the assault to occur, sometimes there is no need for words either…

The scourge, an aggression?

When parents raise their hands to their children, is it aggression? This is an issue on which we should be careful to draw hasty conclusions. What does the law say? Many European countries voted in favour of a text which expressly forbids spanking, slapping and slapping at home and school. Sweden was the first to do this in 1979, followed by Finland, Norway and, most recently, Italy, Germany and France. Spain did not opt in to this prohibitive procedure. But even if Spain does not prohibit spanking, it does not mean it authorizes spanking. Title VII of the Civil Code deals with “parent-subsidiary relationships” and regulates, amongst other things, parental authority. Article 154states that “parental authority must always be exercised in favour of the children in accordance with their personality, and includes the following duties and powers: 1. 2. To represent them and administer their assets. (…) Parents may, in the exercise of their power, refer to the authorities. They can correct their children in a reasonable and moderate way as well. For its part, the Criminal Code deals with both physical violence and “degrading treatment, directly undermining moral integrity” and punishes “physical or mental violence” with up to three years’ imprisonment and even “when the judge or court deems it appropriate to the interest of the minor or incapable, special disqualification from exercising parental authority, guardianship, tutelage or foster care for a period of one to five years” (Article 173).

We have to ask ourselves where the “educational” scourge ends, or what we understand as such, and where the reprehensible aggression starts for justice. Indeed, there is a difference between giving a child a spanking now and then, because we are tired after a day’s work and have lost our patience after a succession of whims, for example, and hitting him regularly, hard, for a foolish act, to subject him to any price or, worse still, humiliating him. Naturally, in the latter case, we can only speak of aggression in the legal sense of the term, and there could even be mistreatment.

Without going as far as that, it does not prevent all spanking from being a violent and aggressive act which, whatever the context, still causes physical damage to the child’s body. The slap, the spanking is particularly traumatic for a child when they come from the parents, who must be the basis of his inner security, on whom he depends completely, whom he loves and who are his models. There are many other ways to raise a child in addition to scourging and corporal punishment, many other ways to punish, much more effective than physical abuse. After all, what does a child learn through spanking? Not to abide by any rule, but to submit to what is stronger than it. An odd educational “achievement”… Think about it, mostly because according to the barometer of the Centre for Sociological Research in March2004, 52.2% of parents “sometimes” justify slapping or spanking their child…

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DVE Publishing is synonymous with cutting edge books for personal development, leisure, animals, art, sports and health, culture, spiritualism and beliefs, gardening and cooking, and more. As a result of our growth, we are pleased to introduce a new catalogue this year with great books for children of all ages.

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The guide to starting school
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