- PhMuseum 2020 Women Photographers Grant
The Dark Side of Sport
Dates2019 - Ongoing
- Location France
'The Dark Side of Sport' is an on-going research on sexual violence in the world of French sport. I started to work on this topic in November 2019 in collaboration with the NGO Disclose – the first non-profit investigative media organisation in France – in a team of two journalists and a director, supervised by an editor.
My assignment was to photograph the most emblematic victims and their families. I asked them to share with me their stories and to pose for a series of portraits in their apartments, during their trainings or where the assaults occurred. The challenge was to hide their faces to protect their identity, while showing at the same time their resilience.
The investigation by Disclose looks at 77 cases of sexual violence in France which were either covered up or which could have been avoided. Numerous perpetrators involved remained in their jobs. Beginning in the 1970s and up to the present day, the cases involve 276 victims – most of whom were minors at the time of events – and 28 different fields of sport.
Disclose shows major failings by clubs, federations, local and national public authorities and the justice system. These include the lack of monitoring of sexual delinquents and the inaction of officials and sports bodies. The extent of sexual abuse and the recurrent nature of the problem calls for urgent preventive action.
With the help of the PHmuseum Women Grant, I plan to complete this work by realising a new series of interviews and portraits of young athletes who complain of being victims of sexual violence, following the map of the 77 cases reported by Disclose throughout France. The choice of the subjects would be based on the symbolic impact of their revelations.
I intend to document a broader variety of cases in 10 different locations – ranging from small town inhabitants to metropolitan residents – among different sports fields such as basketball, gymnastics, athletics, tennis, diving, chess, figure skating and martial arts among others. I finally plan to collect also archive material (newspapers, documents, letters, personal notes) along with photos of places and objects connected to the abuses. The audio of the testimonies will be recorded.
I hope to participate in the scholarship to see how 'The Dark Side of Sport' can evolve towards a finalisation as an exhibition. My aim is to bring the viewer near the psychological universe of the victims and their families, lifting the lid on paedophilia in sport. The grant would support me financially while I focus on developing and enriching the project.