“The sooner you speak, the sooner you will save yourself”, launched Chloe, herself a victim of incest to other victims, Monday, January 18 on franceinfo while testimonies like hers multiply on Twitter with the hashtag #MeTooIncest after the publication on January 5, 2021 of La Familia grande, a book by Camille Kouchner, which denounces the actions of her stepfather Olivier Duhamel. Chloe is 28 years old. From six to eight years old, she suffered abuse at the hands of her grandfather. A shame and a guilt that she still fights today despite the trial which recognized her as a victim.
franceinfo: Did you hesitate before publishing your testimony?
Chloe: Yes, I hesitated a lot. I hesitated for a long time at first to send this message because because I grew up in silence and even after having broken it, incest still remains taboo and it causes embarrassment, discomfort, shame everywhere where it goes. Years later, we are still ashamed or afraid. We are seen as separate beings. We don’t want to expose an entire family.
Ashamed of what?
We feel guilty, even afterwards, when we are recognized as a victim by justice, it is very complicated to let go of this guilt. When you’re a child, you don’t realize, you don’t necessarily know how to say no. And yet, we would like to do it later when we think about it. We say to ourselves: I should have said no, I should have acted as if, I could have acted like that. But we do not actually succeed. When you’re a child, you don’t know what it is, you don’t understand. I took it at the time for moments of tenderness. And then, I quickly realized that there was something wrong.
“But he was my grandfather and I loved him what!”Chloe, victim of incest
It was the most difficult: I understood that he was hurting me, but at the same time, he was supposed to love me. So, this is how I grew up, how I built myself.
What do you say to those who are still hesitant to do what you did, testify as a victim of incest?
There are still many, anonymous, invisible and silent victims. Go talk! Talk about it around you. Say what happened to you and report the facts. Break this taboo and this omerta, it is the only way to save yourself. This is the only one I found. The sooner you speak, the sooner you will save yourself.