“Everyone thinks that the family is a place of safety”, slips the gynecologist Ghada Hatem-Ganzer. However, the family sphere is the place of all violence. They insinuate themselves there with more impunity than elsewhere, concealed behind the shutters of the hearth. And when it comes to impunity, chemical submission is extremely effective. Drugging the victim allows the aggressor to commit a crime without a witness. In 2021, 727 cases of “drug-facilitated” attacks were recorded, says Leila Chaouachi, doctor of pharmacy who participated in the national survey on chemical submission to the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) .
But, in reality, “we have no idea of the extent of the damage”, asks Emmanuelle Piet, president of the Feminist Collective against Rape. Disoriented and suffering from amnesia, “most of the victims are unaware of each other”, abounds Caroline Darian. Herself a collateral victim of chemical submission, the forty-year-old launched an awareness campaign on Monday #MendorsPas in order to warn about this violence, which is often invisible. Her father is in pre-trial detention, accused of having drugged, raped and delivered his mother to dozens of rapists for ten years. A decade of silent sexual slavery.
“The Continuum of Domestic Violence”
Shots in a nightclub or GHB slipped into a cocktail in the evening, chemical submission has been publicized in the festive environment. But “in the collective unconscious, chemical submission would be restricted to GHB in festive environments”, regrets the author of And I stopped calling you daddy. But “in 90% of cases, whatever the method, it is the close the enemy, it is the close who violates”, recalls Emmanuelle Piet. “No one imagines that in the intimate, family sphere, one can be mistreated or chemically abused. However, it is a much more commonplace and frequent phenomenon than we imagine, ”says Ghada Hatem-Ganzer, gynecologist and founder of the Maison des Femmes 93.
“The manipulation of drugs by violent men is a very well-known spring,” recalls Emmanuelle Piet, who takes as an example these men who confiscate or throw away the drugs their partner needs, such as insulin. “We can see chemical submission as the continuum of domestic violence. When the victim no longer remembers, it is also a lever to humiliate him. To tell him: “You never remember anything, you have nothing in your head, my poor wife”, illustrates the president of the Feminist Collective against Rape.
“It can affect anyone”
Ghada Hatem-Ganzer, who is participating in this awareness campaign, hopes that by “bludgeoning the information”, the French will understand that they “may be concerned, that their relatives may be concerned”. “We absolutely have to let as many people know as possible. Talking about the symptoms, saying that it can be possible, that it can affect anyone, ”insists Caroline Darian. “If I had been told about chemical submission, if we had publicly mentioned the symptoms that hide behind this veil, I could have tried to take my mother to the right structures to do toxicological analyses”, he breathes. -She.
Drugged without her knowledge by her husband, her mother presented many symptoms such as black holes, insomnia or loss of her hair. In the hope of finding a solution to these symptoms, she turned to the medical profession. During this decade of sexual violence camouflaged by drugs, she consulted several general practitioners, three neurologists and also her gynecologist. None of these caregivers thought of chemical submission. “Health professionals are absolutely not trained to recognize this type of case in their patients”, adds Caroline Darian who hopes that this national campaign will make it possible to set up training for caregivers.
“We never managed to obtain a toxicological research”
This is the first step because “if you don’t know that you are under chemical submission, you are not going to see the police”, emphasizes Ghada Hatem-Ganzer. But “targeted actions must be put in place so that the police are also empowered to understand and consider that, potentially, there may be a chemical submission”, assures Caroline Darian, adding that it is urgent that “all the stakeholders be sensitized”. An idea that seduces Emmanuelle Piet who regrets that “professionals are very far from thinking about that”.
The president of the Feminist Collective against Rape also remembers a case where a “girl swallowed a bitter liquid in the evening and woke up with no memory the next morning, in her father’s bed”. “We never managed to get the police or the court to do a toxicological research”, she regrets, adding that “it should however be part of the police and judicial arsenal”. In her association, which receives calls from victims but also sometimes accompanies them until the trial, “we have very few cases of chemical submission”, she specifies however. Before adding: “But from the moment we start talking about it, it is possible that we have much more now. »