Nathalie, victim of domestic violence, tells her story: “The influence is a virus in the brain”

They were called Patricia, Lisa, Mélanie or even Farida. They are part of the 121 women

this year, to have lost their lives under the blows of their spouse or ex-spouse.

Her name is Nathalie. Her life, she had the chance to keep it but, above all, to “be born a second time”. In 2012, she met her ex-husband. An “idyllic, everything was going well” story, she recalls. “After two or three years, there were signs but it didn’t really startle me, it was insidious, as is often the case. »

Originally from Yvelines, this former ready-to-wear manager decided, in 2017, to settle with her ex-spouse, between Chartres and Dreux. “And then it got worse. I was in isolation, I no longer knew anyone and I was far from my family, my friends, ”says the mother of two children. “Above all, I felt ashamed vis-à-vis them. The phenomenon of influence has begun but, at the time, we do not understand what is happening to us. »

The association behind the walls helps victims of domestic and intra-family violence in Dreux

Like many women, she tries, for the first time, to loosen the noose that is suffocating her, by leaving. “There was a serious incident and I had to go to the hospital with my daughter. There, the doctors hid us so that he wouldn’t find us, ”says Nathalie. “I was told that I shouldn’t go back home. But my daughter was 4 years old, the Christmas period was coming and I didn’t want to deprive her of it, so I went home. She suffers, undergoes, endures and resists. Until April 22, 2020.

I was dehumanized, deprived of my essence, until I no longer recognized myself”

“If I stayed there, I told myself that I was going to end up at the bottom of the garden,” she recalls, her eyes moist. “I was lucky to be followed by the Maternal Child Protection at the time. I called, saying that I had no more strength, that I was afraid. Two hours later, her daughter under one arm and a few belongings in the other, she arrived in Chartres, at the Bercail des Apprentices d’Auteuil, a place specializing in the support and reception of women in difficulty. A sanctuary that would become his lifeline.


At the Bercail with her daughter, she finds a moment of respite, a break, time to pick up the thread of her life, unraveled by several years of psychological, sexual and financial violence. “Thanks to Le Bercail, I went back the other way in my head and I understood that what I had experienced should not be trivialized. We want to continue to believe in it, because we are in unconditional love but, in fact, it is not love. The influence is a virus in the brain. I was dehumanized and deprived of my essence, until I no longer recognized myself. » premium

Homelessness, domestic violence, migration paths… Women can regain their footing at the Bercail-Foundation of Auteuil Apprentices in Chartres


Gradually, she begins her reconstruction at the Bercail, thanks to a psychological and psychomotor follow-up. “When we arrive in this place, we are like a bird fallen from the nest, the wings broken, without knowing where we are going. And, over there, they repair our wings, they help us to take flight again. »

A new long and tedious flight, with the objective of finding oneself, as a human being but also as a woman. “I had dreams and I had walked away from them. I wanted to find the person I was, a sparkling woman, ”smiles the forty-year-old shyly. Her smile, she had moreover lost it:


She and her daughter were first welcomed into an apartment, via the reception structure for apprentices in Auteuil, before joining a collective house, a moment “to break the isolation and realize that we don’t is not alone and that this route, dozens of other women also take it”. “I was on my knees, the last breath and the last strength I had, I threw them into this battle of reconstruction and I ended up succeeding. »

“You have to say no, that’s my message”

Since July 2021, Nathalie, her daughter, now 7 years old, but also her 21-year-old son, have found their own cocoon, in the Chartres conurbation. “Sometimes I still feel guilty, I wonder if it wasn’t my fault, if it wasn’t me, the faulty link,” wonders Nathalie. “But, today, I worked too hard and too hard on myself to fall back into that. »

In Chartres, a hundred people marched against sexist and sexual violence against women

Arriving at Bercail in 2020, she completed a training course as a real estate negotiator. Before a second step, a bachelor’s degree in charge of real estate affairs, which she should complete in the coming months. “Thanks to this job, I want to help women. Investing in real estate for those who, like me, had and need security, a gate that closes, ”says Nathalie.


After filing a complaint, her ex-husband was first sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence. He finally receives a twelve-month prison sentence, which he will not serve, along with a ban on contacting her, and the obligation to pay her damages.

And if she still sometimes struggles to realize how far she has come, today, distress and suffering have given way to hope and sunshine. “When I arrived at Bercail two years ago, I would not have bet on myself. And I would have even less imagined that I would be in my little perched nest, with my two children, in a secure residence, ”she admits.

“In life, we can find stones in our path, which can create a wall. But you have to do everything to take them one by one, make them a bridge and go to the other side, because it will be fine there. »

According to the count of the feminist collective We All, 121 feminicides have been committed since the beginning of the year.

Emergency and listening numbers.


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