In November 2010, the national day against school bullying did not exist. Jonathan Destin, student of 3e in Marquette-lez-Lille (North), was then subjected to harassment which would lead him a little later to set himself on fire. He will narrowly escape. Today, while this Thursday, November 5, the day against bullying, it is a young adult in reconstruction who testifies against this scourge, “So that it does not start or so that it stops for other young people”.
At 26, Jonathan Destin still bears the scars of this tragedy. 72% burnt, he remained in an artificial coma for three months and still undergoes regular operations, ten years later, to repair a body that has been damaged for life.
He recovers slowly, over skin grafts, appointments with his psychologist and rehabilitation sessions. In particular, he had to learn to walk again. And to manage his emotions. “I have only felt able to return to classes for two years, he confides. The first time, I had to go out, I couldn’t stand seeing tables again, let alone the playground. “
The importance of speech
Teenager, Jonathan Destin suffered for six years, without flinching, insults on his name or his build, at school, at the swimming pool, in the canteen too, where some made fun of him as soon as he ate. Nice, a little strong, isolated … the young boy had to endure the mockery, the beatings in the premises of the college and outside where older young people even followed him to extort him.
Until the day when he was asked for money, a pistol over his head. That day, he decides to end it all “To finally be at peace”. “On February 8, 2011, I bought rubbing alcohol and set myself on fire”, he says in his book Condemned to kill me, released in 2013. He thought his heart would burn quickly … hence the title of the TV movie inspired by his story, The day I burned my heart. A true living torch, it runs to the nearby canal and jumps into the water. A passerby hears him and saves him. “She became my friend and my hairdresser”, adds Jonathan, whose hair has now grown back.
In front of children, young people or adults, Jonathan recounts these years of harassment, explains what could have been done to help him: “At the time, no student told me they were sad or sorry for me. “ He barely remembers a French teacher who seemed to understand him, unlike others. “Once, I went to complain to a teacher who replied: “They’re just having fun, go back with them.“ “
The young man insists on the importance of speaking: “You have to find someone you trust, your parents, a friend, a teacher and if you are not listened to, look for someone else. I regret not having dared to speak to my parents. “
We can be harassed “for nothing”
As a result of the media coverage of his story, Jonathan received many messages of support, “Including a young person from Lyon who apologized because he himself was a stalker”. The ex-victim also evokes the “Followers” : “They can go see the teachers, the friends or the harassed to play the intermediary. “
With the association created by his parents, Tous solidaires avec Jonathan, he acts but is also helpless in the face of the scale of the task: “You can be harassed because you don’t have branded clothes, because you’re fat, red-haired, or for nothing”. He advises him to call 3020, the help number for victims of bullying or the France Victims federation.
Today Jonathan lives alone in an apartment, surrounded by his mother and friends. He would like to work one day, in IT or in pastry: “It was my childhood dream, but I haven’t regained all my motor skills and I still can’t stand the heat. With time perhaps … “ Jonathan is an adult who still feels fragile: “Going to schools, psychologically, helps me a lot. “