On this rainy day in November, the Lille native Virginie Genelle has an appointment in Paris with Sarah Abitbol, who is waiting for her at the bottom of her building, surrounded by her two Yorkie. With the Covid, no way to see each other in a cafe. They don’t care. The two women, very moved, will stay on the sidewalk to talk. They have so much to say to each other.
A month earlier, Virginie Genelle wrote, via Messenger, to Sarah Abitbol, 45 years old:
“I am 33 years old, I was raped by my swimming teacher when I was 7 or 8 years old. […] Your testimony in the media had already enabled me to realize that I was not alone and that everything was explained. Among others, my amnesia and some of my obsessions and phobias. But your book allowed me to make up my mind, I will go and file a complaint. I am afraid but I am determined not to be an accomplice without wanting to, to change the shame of sides. “
“I read you …” “I saw you …” Her meter fifty coiled in a sofa, Sarah Abitbol scrolls on her phone dozens of testimonies similar to that of Virginie, written almost exclusively by women, many sportswomen, of all generations.
Virginie Genelle, 32, decided to talk about her story following Sarah Abitbol’s testimony. She wants “to change the shame of the camp”. (Stéphane Dubromel / Hans Lucas for “l’Obs”).
Virginie, in June 1995. She was abused at the age of 8 by a lifeguard. (Personal collection).
Pain, traumatic memory, anorexia, bulimia
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