"the trial is a step in the process of rebuilding the victims"

On Wednesday, September 2, the trial of the Charlie Hebdo, Hyper Cacher and Montrouge attacks opened at the Paris Assizes. A crucial legal event for the victims and their loved ones, and even more psychologically.

This is the trial that France awaited with emotion, that of the attacks of January 2015. For two months, fourteen people must be tried before the special assize court in Paris. They are believed to have helped organize the assaults, logistically or ideologically. Three of the defendants who left for the Iraqi-Syrian zone before the attacks are currently subject to arrest warrants. No one officially knows if they are still alive. On January 7, 8 and 9, killings took place in Charlie Hebdo, Montrouge and Hyper Cacher. In this tragedy, seventeen people died.

The procedure is twofold. On the one hand, a sentence will fall for the culprits and on the other, the victims will be able to progress in the stages of their reconstruction after a strong trauma.

For Élisabeth de Madre, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in Paris, contacted by phone, "this process is absolutely capital in the reconstruction because it is a social and legal recognition of the company on the fact that there was trauma. Fundamental recognition of the harm suffered."

Suffering, according to the specialist, must be recognized. Even if it is very difficult to relive the trauma, we have to go through this path again. "We call this moment, the trigger effect, in all traumas. This morning I received a young girl who was sexually abused when she was twelve years old. She was heard from the police and those four hours were enough to get her to Saint Anne's Hospital for a month", explains Élisabeth de Madre.

Putting words into the worst that happened in his life remains essential, and even if this can plunge the victim into a state of fragility as in the example cited above. The shock of rediscovering the emotions, images and sensations of yesteryear can provoke reactions in some people such as hospitalization. However, you have to face your trauma head-on to move forward.

Time before trial is beneficial

Cases take a long time to get to a judge because the trial has to be heard. Justice therefore takes its time, which is not necessarily bad for the psychologist. "That's the whole problem with psychic trauma, the person is emotionally overwhelmed, so it takes time. Afterwards, everything depends on the follow-up, on the support of the victim by specialists between the trauma and the trial. It is an essential aid to face the rest of the events", she confides. The time of the trial, which may seem long for many, is used in the reconstruction mechanism, because the victim will have the opportunity to see specialists who will help him see more clearly in the aftermath. -trauma.

The test of testimony

The test of testimony is necessary, but "you have to be able to. You should never force people.“Going to the bar to recount your experience is a very uncomfortable moment, because you have to remember despicable acts that anyone would like to forget. You must therefore feel capable of it, have the shoulders for it. nothing must be rushed. The brain is a hard disk which stores everything, but at different levels. There can be a jostling of the psychological defenses that the human being builds during trauma, which is not good, it should not be not go too fast.

What if the hopes of the verdict are not those expected. Can disappointment be a brake on reconstruction? According to the psychologist, victims must prepare beforehand to perhaps experience a disillusionment regarding their expectations. "We should not bet everything on the verdict of the trial, it is a stage in the reconstruction, but not the major element", confirms Élisabeth de Madre.

Different ways of reacting in his personal reconstruction

The victims do not all have the same way of apprehending the days, the years after a tragedy. Between oblivion, resilience and combativeness in the media, each individual redefines himself in his own way.

"Everyone does what they can! Everyone will manage their trauma. Sensitivities are diverse, as is the intensity of the psychological impact of the lived event. If they were at the heart of the event or if a loved one died", affirms Élisabeth de Madre.

There is no proper behavior to be had, but it is necessary that "the witness of psychological healing speaks without it being an open wound. We need to step back. "

"I like to take the image of the body. A teenager cuts his thumb, it has four stitches. Impossible to touch his thumb. But after the scarring, he can touch his wound. It's the same when we are in pain, we cannot talk about it, the body says nothing is right. Witnessing healing means speaking without pain, but without forgetting", adds the specialist in psychology.

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Video by Anais Monk