Sexual violence in sport: the testimony of Chloé, fencing champion with a life turned upside down

The young 19-year-old Montpellier, now based in Rodez, broke the omerta by filing a complaint against her trainer. The latter is to be tried for sexual assault next week in Toulouse.

« He had been my only coach for two or three years, we got along well, I felt like I was his favorite, I liked it and I felt protected … I was 14 years old, he was like my father and that reassured me because my daddy had passed away. He established a climate of trust and I trusted him with my eyes closed, I sat on his knees …. I wonder today how I I was able to sit on his knees « .

The speech is clear, precise. The uninterrupted flow of words and we feel relief in Chloé Bousfiha’s voice. From the top of her 19 years, Montpellier, hope of hexagonal fencing, already crowned with a title of champion of France under 17 years old, is ready for the judicial meeting which she awaits, serene and impatiently , next week before the Toulouse court.

She tells for the first time this sexual violence that she accuses her former fencing master in a sport environment often affected by omerta. She evokes this hold that he would have exercised on this seed of champion, consequences on his life and his career, supported by his lawyer Me Valérie Soulié.

In mid-January 2017, this precocious child who grew up and discovered fencing in Montpellier before joining the Toulouse club, was selected for the European circuit. She goes to Bratislava, Slovakia, for a competition, by team. During the return trip, by train, she denounces the sexual assault. His fencing master, confidant, in his forties, national level trainer, asks him to join him in his bunk via the Snapchat application.

« He texted me saying he was cold, I refused, I didn’t see why he wanted me to come. He insisted, I figured I was going to go for a few minutes so that I could go. ‘he leaves me alone «  reports the young woman, who follows a BTS in commerce in Rodez in parallel with her sports career. I was ashamed, I stood between him and the wall, I turned my back on him, I was scared, I was on my phone and he was telling me he was jealous « .

« VS‘is a support that I did not have in fencing « 

Chloé Bousfiha then describes caresses on the body and a breast. « I told him stop, he started again, I got out of bed … For me it was incomprehension, I was confused … »

The preteen, competitive but psychologically fragile, finds herself trapped. On the one hand, she confides in a loved one, but keeps the secret to continue her promising fencing career, even if it means meeting the coach every weekend. A few weeks later, she pocketed her national title. On the other hand, she drops out at school, turns in on herself, prone to depression and scarification. Which clearly slowed down his progress.

« I was watching the movie from the bunk for months, wondering what had I done wrong? It was my trainer, it would have been someone else, I would have talked. » she analyzes.

His mother is finally taken into the confidence and the filing of a complaint follows in June 2018. A release. « When I spoke to the judge, it made me feel good, it is a support that I did not have in fencing » launches the one who then went up the slope at all levels. Today, while awaiting trial, Chloe, who dreams of one day reaching the Grail of qualifying for the Olympic Games, is part of this essential freedom of speech.

« I find myself in all these testimonies of sportswomen, even if we do not do the same sport, I will do everything to make my word help, if it can shed light on other facts … We must clean everything that at the Karcher «  launches the competitor with the will and morale of steel.

Tried for sexual assault

The coach’s trial was heard on December 2 before the Toulouse court. He is being prosecuted for sexual assault on Chloe but also for slapping her two weeks after the alleged facts. Edifying messages had been found on his phone he talks about « nibbling his ear », « I wanted you to sleep in my arms » or « eat knackis you will find your chest ». He admits having made him come to his bunk, but not the touching. Placed under strict judicial control (it is in particular forbidden to train), they will also be judged for sexual attacks on a former fencer, major at the time of the facts, for hands on the buttocks and prints of T-shirt to see her. chest, all repeatedly.

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