Tuesday, June 28, 2022

“You’re ashamed”: Evra speaks openly about sexual abuse

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Patrice Evra has exposed the sexual abuse he suffered as a child in France and has called for child spanking to be made illegal in England.

The former Manchester United defender and France international recently revealed in his autobiography how a school teacher abused his position of power while Evra stayed at his home.

Speaking of on the BBC Today program On Tuesday he said: “When I was 13 I was in a school that was too far from home so I had to take a train, a three hour journey. So my teacher suggested I sleep at his house, he was staying at the school. At first it was like a dream, he cooked for me, let me play video games. But every time I went to bed it was a nightmare then he tried to sexually abuse me. Every night he fought, and one night he succeeded. I said to my mother, ‘I don’t want to sleep in this teacher’s house anymore.’ She asked me why and I didn’t say why.”

Evra kept the abuse from family and friends at bay during his teenage years and highly successful football career until he recently confided in his fiancée Margaux Alexandra.

“I lived with it until I was 24 when I was playing for Monaco and the police called me and said, ‘This man had a lot of complaints about other children being sexually abused, did he do anything to you? ‘ And I said no. I lied because first of all you feel ashamed, guilty and also afraid of what people will think – I was already a famous person. I’m sorry because it’s not about me, it’s about the kids.

“That’s why I’ve been open about it in my autobiography, and also thanks to the woman of my life, Margaux, she’s helped me get rid of that toxic masculinity and feel safe. I felt like I could trust her, I opened up and I’m talking, and you let something go. I decided to include it in my book. My book was already finished and I called the publisher and said, ‘I have to add something really important.’

“The most devastating moment was when I saw my mother and told her face to face after I was 13, at the age of 40, ‘I was sexually abused.’ Of course she was devastated and I tell her, ‘I’m going to put that in my autobiography.’ She said, ‘No, that’s too personal,’ and I said, ‘No mom, that’s not for me, that’s for the kids.'”

The lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic is believed to have exposed at least 85 million more children around the world to physical, sexual and emotional violence, as well as increasing exposure to online groomers.

Evra has now joined the Together To End Violence campaign which aims to raise awareness and put an end to child abuse. He has also called for hitting children, which is against the law in Scotland and Wales, to be made illegal in England.

“I want children to be protected by the law,” he said. “We know that in the UK and in every country it is wrong to lock up your children, but when you are not protected by the law it is difficult. But the most important step is education. Every time I say to people nobody is born violent or racist, it’s about the way you were raised. My father used violence and you couldn’t even cry because growing up, crying was a sign of weakness.

“The main problem is the society, the culture, the way people were brought up. But being protected by the law is very important.”

In his book entitled i love this gamee, Evra reached out directly to other victims of abuse.

“If you are a child reading this and being abused you need to speak up,” he wrote. “Don’t carry your shame around because there is no such thing as shame. Cope with your nightmare by talking about it. I look at my own son and think, ‘If something happens, I hope he will tell me.’ A lot of shit happened when I was a kid. The people I know and love will be reading this, and I don’t want to cause them any more pain, but it’s important that I tell my story honestly. I’m 40 years old and I’m telling the truth.”

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