Inès Chatin has finally broken her decades-long silence and filed a complaint with the Office of Minors, detailing the sexual violence she endured at the hands of a group of powerful men close to her adoptive father, Jean-François Lemaire. This investigation has been ongoing for eight months now, shedding light on the traumatic childhood she experienced thirty-five years ago.

Growing up, Inès buried most of her emotions deep inside. She was forced to remain stoic, hiding the pain she endured as her abusers violated her with objects. She suffered in silence to protect her mother, Lucienne, from the disturbing cycle of abuse that plagued their family. In their closed-off world, a perverse pattern emerged where Jean-François Lemaire, their adoptive father and a doctor, would target his wife to fuel guilt and control over his two children – Inès and her older adopted brother.

Inès vividly remembers the night Lemaire pushed her down the grand staircase of their home on 97 Rue du Bac. Trapped in this cycle, she was unable to explore her roots and confront her past until after Lucienne’s passing in May 2021. « It took my mother’s death for her to finally be safe. Otherwise, I would have likely remained silent, » she whispers. Furthermore, having been a direct victim of her father’s closest friends, whom she continued to interact with in adulthood – some even attended her wedding in 1997 – she remained psychologically bound to them.

Nearly thirty-five years later, Inès struggles to recount the most graphic scenes of her childhood. During the sixty hours of interviews conducted by Liberation, she reluctantly shared the harrowing details of her past. It was a difficult journey for her to come to terms with the trauma and speak out against the perpetrators who had tormented her for so long.

Inès Chatin’s courage to speak up after years of silence sheds light on the pervasive issue of sexual violence and abuse. Her story serves as a reminder of the long-lasting impact of trauma and the importance of breaking the cycle of silence and shame. It is a testament to the resilience of survivors who find the strength to seek justice and reclaim their voice, even after decades of suffering in silence.