In January 2020, the sporting world was shaken by the revelations of skating champion Sarah Abitbol. In a book, she accuses her former trainer Gilles Beyer of rape, touching and sexual harassment, between 1990 and 1992, when she was 15 to 17 years old. The facts being prescribed, the skater does not file a complaint, but her testimony causes a shock wave in ice sports and allows other victims to speak out: nearly 700 people, in 54 federations, will be implicated. . The documentary Such a long silence: a skater breaks the omertadirected by Emmanuelle Anizon and Rémy Burkel, rich in archive images and unpublished testimonies, looks back on the journey of this athlete who has won several medals, and on the ordeal she endured for two years.
It was during an intensive skating course that Sarah Abitbol says she was sexually assaulted for the first time by Gilles Beyer. “I had just turned 15says the skater in the documentary. I’m sleeping deeply with my little stuffed animals, and I feel someone, I feel a presence (…) I see Gilles Beyer (…) He starts talking very softly, telling me: ‘You don’t find it weird that I’m sitting on your bed?’ And then he looks at me and says, ‘You know, I love my wife, but in a part of my heart, I love you.’ And he starts kissing me. (…) I feel like it’s not real. I do not understand. And he continues and it goes a little bit further.”
Sarah Abitbol reads fragments of her story in the film, in which she speaks directly to her attacker. “You slip your hand under the sheet. I’m in a nightgown. Your hand is touching me below, between my legs. I’m scared. I want to run away, but I’m not moving. I want to scream, but no sound. comes out of my mouth. I don’t understand what you’re doing. (…) You end up blowing: ‘It’s all a secret. It has to stay between us Sarah’.”
It’s a TV movie The Solace, adapted, in 2017, from the eponymous book by television host Flavie Flament, also a victim of rape, who decided Sarah Abitbol to break the silence. His former coach Gilles Beyer was indicted in early 2021 for “sexual assault by a person in authority”, after accusations from at least five other skaters or ex-skaters. For her part, Sarah Abitbol has created an association called Sarah’s voiceand made sexual violence the fight of his life.
The documentary “Such a long silence: a skater breaks the omerta”, directed by Emmanuelle Anizon and Rémy Burkel, is broadcast on Wednesday May 11 at 9:10 p.m. on France 2.
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