Vosges bullying victim gets huge online support

A young French girl who received threatening letters in her school locker has now received hundreds more letters and online messages, this time of support and solidarity.

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Manon, aged just 11 from Epinal (Vosges), became the subject of an online furore when her 19-year-old aunt, Ophélie Dodeman - whose family takes care of Manon full-time as her parents are no longer around - posted photos of the threatening letters the 11-year-old had received from school bullies in her locker, as reported by French news source FranceInfo.

“Do you think it’s normal that an 11-year-old receives such messages?” she asked, alongside photos of the bullying letters.

The letters, which were hand-written on notebook paper, featured exceptionally-damaging phrases, including “kill yourself”, “we will make you miserable”, and a host of other sexually-explicit threats and insults.

Now, Twitter users have responded, with over 2,000 people commenting favourably on the original post, which has itself been shared over 26,000 times in the past 48 hours.

Dodeman’s Twitter account has since been deleted or deactivated, in the wake of the incident, but screenshots still remain of the original tweet and the replies.

One of the online replies came from a 20-year-old named Cloé, who said she had “experienced something similar” at school. “I was harassed for around a year, and the school did nothing. I did not dare tell my parents as I did not want to aggravate the situation. I begged my mother to let me change schools, but she never understood why. Manon’s story really touched me because those letters are not normal, especially today when we have all these campaigns against bullying.”

Another user, 19-year-old Mahieddine Meraoubi from Alsace, felt “compelled to reply”. “Letters like this can make kids lose their confidence, when that is the one thing they should not lose,” he wrote, saying that he had also sent a physical letter to Manon in support.

“It’s the first time I have done something like this, but I put myself in an 11 year-old’s shoes and used simple language, that no-one will need to explain to her,” added Meraoubi.

“I told her ‘well done’, that she had managed to talk about this, and to not let the bullies win, and to use all the negative energy to get stronger and rise higher. ‘Continue to be happy, and full of joy', I said.”

Dodeman says she has so far received over 200 physical letters in support of her niece, as well as the online replies.

“I will give the letters to Manon this weekend,” she confirmed to FranceInfo.

Dodeman’s parents have also made an official complaint to the school about the messages, and are said to be working with the school principal and counsellor to look after Manon and determine the authors of the original notes.

Manon is said to be “doing well” and is “well-supported”.

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