Translated, with a heavy heart, by myself from Le Parisien, one sad story promising to get much uglier before it can get better:After the face-off Monday evening between over twenty girls at the Chelles (Seine-et-Marne) bus station, "Julie" [not her real name], a 17-year old high school student, bears witness. She says that a new rumble is already scheduled.
"Usually, when I watch a fight, I don’t stay very long." Monday night, Julie decided to "watch it through to the end". The spectacle took place at 5:30 pm in a place ringed with trees at the bus station in Chelles (Seine-et-Marne).
Around twenty girls armed with screwdrivers, iron bars, bedboards and steak knives were meeting to settle scores. The girls of Meanx vs those of Noisiel: about forty supportors and spectators accompanied them.
At first glance, Julie recognized almost all the participants, students as she was at Chelles, in her vocational high school. "They arranged for the rendez-vous through through the intermediary of common acquaintances, who made the link", she explains. "This could be old friends from previous classes in another high school or another city."
Why this muscled meeting organized through text messaging? "There had been trouble between two girls and it degenerated", Julie says. For one of her friends, it was "a dirty look" that seems to have set everything off. Others say an emotional dispute between two adolescents from two competing territories. "Usually it’s the boys who mark their boundaries!", remarked a resident of Pierre-Collinet, where some of the Meaux fighters came from. "They wanted to do the same, because the group from Noisiel were looking for them for a while." Who provoked who? How does one view the other? The slightest "girl trouble" has become a pretext for a violence borrowed from the boys. "For the past year, there are more and more fights between girls", Julie observes. "We want to show our personality. Too many times the guys treat us like garbage: they have to learn that if someone speaks badly about us, we’ll react!"
A logic that led seven high school girls straight to police custody, Monday night. Warned by school staff of a possible rumble, police intervened right after the first blows. An eighth female adolescent was arrested yesterday. All were 15 or 16 years old…
"The struggle against this kind of armed gathering of youths ranks among our priorities", assures Rene Pech, the district attorney for Meaux. Today, a consultation meeting is to be organized at Chelles between the police, representatives of the court and the heads of the vocational high schools involved in the recent fight. A way to prevent the next one? Julie and her friend, in any event, don’t think so: "There will be a return match, for sure!", they laugh. "The girls of Noisiel and Meaux still want to fight. They’ll find each other again. And if it’s not tomorrow, it will be later."
A shorter account of similar violence at another school accompanies the article:
A fight had broken out yesterday in front of the Paul-Vaillan-Couturier college in Champigny (Val-de-Marne). A female college student who was fighting with another female adolescent was lightly wounded by the girl’s mother when she tried to intervene. In the scuffle, female friends of the young victim started in on the mother, who had to find refuge in the building until the police arrived.
When a society's young women stop being a source of faith in the future, and instead turn into part of the problem, where is there left to look for hope? "Cherchez La Femme", indeed...
"One is not born a woman, one becomes one."
___ Simone de Beauvoir