[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content
A former tennis star in France came forward with the horrific sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her former coach when she was a child.
According to The Sun, Angelique Cauchy began working with tennis coach Andrew Geddes in 1999 at the Sarcelles Tennis Club in North Paris when she was only 12 years old. And within weeks, she claimed he began sexually harassing and assaulting her. The height of the abuse she suffered, though, was at 15 years old. Angelique testified to the Palais Bourbon – which is part of the French National Assembly – last week:
“It happened within not even two or three months. I told him, ‘No, you shouldn’t, it’s not right, I don’t want to.’ And he replied to me, ‘You know it happens sometimes in relationships between coach and student, we spend a lot of time together, it’s normal.’”
What the f**k. The athlete told the court that Geddes allegedly raped her three times per day during a two-week training camp in La Baule, West France. So, so sickening. She recalled of the training camp:
“I lived the worst two weeks of my life. I thought many times about committing suicide. He raped me three times a day. The first night he asked me to go to his room and I didn’t do it, then he came into mine. It was worse. I was in prison. I couldn’t get out when I wanted and afterwards, I had to stay in the place where it had happened. The evenings after, it seems crazy, but I went there on my own, and I took those thirteen steps that separated me from his room.”
And the nightmare only continued from there. Per euro.eseuro.com, Angelique testified he allegedly “raped me more than 400 times in two years.” She was even allegedly blackmailed by Geddes into believing she contracted AIDS from him, per France Info:
“He came to tell me one day: ‘I have AIDS, that’s for sure, I gave it to you.’ At the end of the 1990s, it was something that was much scarier than now, it paralysed me. I lived from 13 to 18 years old thinking I had AIDS. But he lied to me, just to destroy me. It was perhaps even more destructive than the rape.”
Jeez. The now 36-year-old alleged she was not the only victim of Geddes. However, Angelique explained that the club president allegedly brushed off any allegations about Geddes a woman came forward with:
“It was known in the tennis world that his behavior with young girls was not correct. When a woman complained to the club president that he had behaved inappropriately towards young people with verbal and physical violence, the answer was, ‘Yes, but he brings us titles.’”
Disgusting. The Sun reported that “Geddes was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2021 after being found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting four girls aged between 12 and 17.” And right now, Angelique’s testimony was for an inquiry to determine the “shortcomings within sports federations, the sport movement and sports governance bodies,” per The Express.
Our heart breaks for what Angelique endured. Here’s hoping she gets some justice.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and would like to learn more about resources, consider checking out https://www.rainn.org/resources.
[Image via Le Parisien/YouTube]