It’s a date they don’t want to miss. An outstretched hand they welcome with pleasure. It’s 2:45 p.m. at Champ-de-Mars in Paris. The sun is trying to make its way through the scattered clouds. The atmosphere is beautiful. This Tuesday, May 31, Myriam, Badia and Sandrine responded to a muscle building session led by Karen Rossier.
Short hair, a smile sticking to her lips and boundless energy, this 50’s is the boss of Up Sport! United for Sport, a solidarity association that promotes inclusive and accessible sports practice for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. For the third year in a row, a small group of women victims of violence accompanied and followed, at one training rate per week, with the Information Center on Women’s Rights and the Family (CIDFF) in Paris.
The goal of these regular sporting activities is to allow the woman to free herself from the hindrances caused by the violence she has been exposed to, to restore a body still sometimes bruised from the beatings and to regain self-confidence. in the program ? Yoga, relaxation, cycling, swimming, team sports, muscle strengthening and cardio. “The idea is to accompany them in physical movement, thanks to sports, but also on a personal and professional level “, Karen Rosser explains. To do this, she works in close cooperation with the psychologist and professional integration counselor of CIDFF.
On one of the cobbled paths in the Champ-de-Mars park, colorful plots litter the ground and paint a circular path—or nearly. In one file, a small group of women lunge forward and do alternate knee raises, chasing steps and jumps. Each round ends with ten squats and ten lunges. It’s time for track practice and Badia is already trying to negotiate. “Can’t we do six instead?” Nice try, but Karen does not allow herself to be persuaded.
Unity is strength
With her blonde hair picked up by a black alligator clip, Badia wears a mischievous smile and exudes the joy of life. Since returning to the sport last February, she hasn’t missed a single workout. “It’s a moment when I find myself, forget everything and let go. ” It’s also a breath of fresh air. A deep breath, away from the four walls of the hotel room I’ve occupied since I left the marital home last December.
“It’s hard being a battered woman. I had withdrawn into myself, no longer tasting anything and was step by step heading into depression, She trusts, suddenly her face is more serious. It’s rare to find people who give you the strength to move forward.”
this is Strength, each one also derives from each other’s life stories. “We know that the people around us have also gone through difficult situations. It makes you feel less lonely.” Sandra notes. A mother of three, the 34-year-old is convinced of one thing: sports saved her life. “During the effort, you don’t think about the hits you took. You run away, you think of yourself or the ball you have to catch.”
When they put on their sneakers, the stickers fly away from this athletic separator. “I know their fragility and remain vigilant, but I look to them above all as women, to help them not see themselves only as victims of domestic violence. Karen adds. Because that is above all what they are looking for. Bury this painful past and look to the future.
At the start of some volleyball passes, Badia shares with the rest of the group her desire to become a metro driver. “I worked for twenty years in management, and today I want to change my profession, ” recognize. Alongside him, Sandrine dreams of being a gate ball champion. A Japanese sport that revisits and rediscovered croquet thanks to Up Sport. “It’s not very well known yet, there might be a way!” Scream and laugh. Laughter, coexistence and discussion time among colleagues, that’s also what the sport is all about.
It’s 4 p.m. Behind this small group of women now playing a game, at the crossroads of basketball and handball, the Eiffel Tower stands proud and confident. Padilla, Miriam and Sandrine gradually raise their heads and reconnect with themselves. It is only a matter of time before they feel proud and confident again.