It’s a story that sends shivers down your spine and will be broadcast this evening in prime time on France 2 in the documentary Such a long silence. The skater Sarah Abitbol tells of the ordeal she experienced when she was young, barely 15 years old and repeatedly raped by her trainer at the time, Gilles Beyer. A terrible situation that will last two years for the young woman, but it is only thirty years later that she will dare to speak about it in a book released in 2020. A real explosion in the polished universe of figure skating.
After the book, Sarah Abitbol therefore moved on to documentaries so that her story would allow women to speak out in this type of case. She, who took so long to speak about it publicly, admits today that it was also complicated to speak about it to her daughter, Stella, aged 11. “It took me a year to talk to him about it. I succeeded a few months ago, but before that I couldn’t”she confesses today in an interview with Gala.
I spoke to him in childlike words, telling him that my trainer had sat on my bed, that he had touched my body
A very complex situation to make a child understand and to get there, Sarah Abitbol tried to get to the level of her daughter. “I spoke to him in childlike words, telling him that my trainer had sat on my bed, that he had touched my body and that an adult person had no right to touch my body. ‘a little girl”she says, before giving her daughter’s reaction: “She immediately said to me: ‘Ah but dad mom weren’t there?’ I replied that it was a skating camp and that we were without our parents”.
A discussion that we imagine very difficult for Sarah Abitbol, who shows exemplary courage despite the difficult times she is going through. After telling Stella about her ordeal, the 46-year-old former skater gave her some advice. “I also told him that I was 15 and that he had to take care of her bodythat no one had the right to touch his little ‘treasures’ – that’s what I call private parts – we shot it that way. The more she will grow, the more she will ask me questions and I will answer him. For the moment, she is still a little young”she concludes.
After her terrible revelations, Sarah Abitbol was at the heart of a media storm, but two years later, she seems calm and ready to share her story on television, so that things change and speech is released.
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