“This impunity takes me out of my hinges”annoys the writer Bénédicte Martin, who ended up filing a complaint, too, against the former journalist Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, she told franceinfo on Tuesday September 20, confirming information from Release. She accuses him of having sexually assaulted her in 2003, in his office at TF1, and she denounces the “active complicity of the publishing world”. “I filed a complaint against Patrick on September 12 after long months of reflection and annoyance to see that he continued to look good when there are a lot of women who have filed a complaint against him or who testified to his actions”she explains.
“He continues to believe himself untouchable, he does not answer for his actions, his reprehensible acts, he continues to make fun of his victims.”Benedict Martin
The journalist also filed a complaint to give visibility to the victims, so that people see that “we are not just complaints, we are women, sisters, mothers, daughters, we have a job, and we also have to deal with the trauma that PPDA has put on us”.
She tells how, after having invited her to his literary program, Vol de nuit, to talk about the publication of the young writer’s first book, Warm Up, published in 2003, he invited her to come and attend the TF1 newscast. . “I was not more excited than that but it was at the insistence of my press officer that I went there. I understood very quickly that I was locked up, I was in a sort of trap.” She is called by other first names than hers by the employees of the chain and she says to herself “that there must be a parade of women”.
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“After the news, I was made to wait in his office for almost half an hour, a time I think is very opportune for PPDA in terms of its predation, which is when the offices of TF1 empty. I see people leave gradually and I find myself alone with him who arrives and simply takes his shoes off when he arrives and uses alcohol”she recalls.
“He circled around the chair I was sitting in, facing his desk, and from behind he gave me an armbar. We tipped over on the carpet and I struggled as he tried to put his hands in my panties while lifting my skirt and lowering my pantyhose.”Benedict Martin
“There, I faked, I said to myself: not me, I won’t be raped, I don’t want to, and so I pushed her face away with my hand, firmly and I fakedshe says. I told him ‘Patrick we deserve better, not like this, something prettier’, and it worked. He got up, he went behind his desk, he took out a notebook, he told me what day and that’s when I grabbed my bag, I took my coat and I ran down the hall, afraid of being chased by him.”
After that, she tried to talk to her editor, Frédéric Beigbeder, then stationed at Flammarion. “He served me his famous laugh as if it were a good big joke and that with him nothing is ever serious.” The writer Michel Houellebecq, present at that time, was not more shocked. “When I said that, it was as if I had animated their afternoon. They frankly did not see where the problem was, it was distraction”she says.
The writer does not believe “that a publishing house like Flammarion thought I was going to get through it. My press officer will explain this elsewhere, but I was made clear to you that PPDA, when you are a young author starting out and who is successful, is a must”. So Bénédicte Martin “strongly condemns the active complicity of the publishing community”a “coterie of untouchables who believe they are allowed everything” and who are “deeply sexist”. “No one helped me”she repeats several times.
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By dint of everyone around her minimizing, the young writer has “put a small handkerchief on it [et a] continued to advance like that”. “I believed that we could continue to live, that we could overtake, but in fact we cannot advance when we have a broken dough”, she says today. Nineteen years later, on September 12, she finally decided to file a complaint, even if the facts she denounces are time-barred. “It felt like such a relief. Finally, a listen. Finally, to be heard. To put it bluntly, I had lived with Patrick’s hand in my panties for 19 years and that day, the hand has been removed.”
For the writer, as for all the women who testified against him, “PPDA’s place is in a court”. She is pleased that the investigating judges are studying the possibility of a serial nature of the acts of the former journalist. This character, if it were recognized on a non-prescribed fact, would make it possible to circumvent the prescription and to judge for example a rape dating from 1993 denounced by the journalist Hélène Devynck, from another dating from 2004 denounced by the writer Florence Porcel, or the sexual assault denounced by Bénédicte Martin.
In his eyes, moreover, the serial character is obvious. “I believe that PPDA is a serial rapist and that he had implemented, for almost 30 years, a systemic modus operandi.”
“These attacks happened on these same square meters [dans son bureau]on this same place [dans la tour TF1]at the same hours [après le JT]every week.”Benedict Martin
“It really is predation, premeditation and this must be punished”, hammers the writer. She also notes that the victims had “a kind of common character” : “We are very young, very fine, very skinny women. He tells us about his daughter Solenn who suffered from anorexia and who committed suicide. Each time, he tells us that we remind him of his daughter who committed suicide and he sexually assaults us, going for some as far as rape.”
More broadly, Bénédicte Martin also calls on the government to “blow the prescriptions”. “I’m doing this so that the State, the National Assembly, the Senate review the law on prescription because, for minors, the prescription is longer. It’s not at 18 exactly that we becomes an adult. When you’re 24 or 25, you’re still a young adult, you don’t have all the benchmarks yet. And anyway, I believe that sexual crimes should never have a statute of limitations.”
Patrick Poivre d’Arvor was heard in a free hearing last July to answer accusations of rape, learned franceinfo from a judicial source, confirming information from AFP. Contacted by franceinfo, PPDA lawyer Me Jacqueline Laffont did not respond. Until now, the former star of TF1 has always denied the facts alleged against him by around thirty women. A preliminary investigation and a judicial inquiry have been opened against him.
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