Man United Legend Patrice Evra Opens Up About Being Sexually Abused As A Child
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Patrice Evra is full of life and love at 40 years old. The Instagram page for the former French defender with nearly 400 appearances for Manchester United is full of fun, joy and the left back’s favorite phrase: “I love this game.” A recent post saw him joking about his poo to his wife and tennis star Novak Djokovic. In the past, he’s enjoyed swimming with pigs while wearing a wig.
But this week the real-life Dani Rojas revealed a secret he’d been hiding for more than 25 years. Ahead of the release of his autobiography entitled “I Love This Game,” Evra spoke with the Times about repeated sexual abuse by a teacher he suffered as a 13-year-old.
Evra said as a boy he lived with a head teacher to cut down on commute to the school. In the interview with the Times and in his new autobiography, he revealed how the teacher would force himself into Evra’s bedroom and molest Evra.
For most of his life, Evra kept this a secret. In 2005, when Evra was 24 and playing for AS Monaco, Evra declined to speak to police who were investigating accusations into the head teacher, instead deciding to stay silent. Now, Evra is speaking out to encourage others to do so too.
“Living with that was one of my biggest regrets because I could have helped so many people,” Evra told the Times. “I’ve had enough of this toxic masculinity. For my father, crying was weak, but crying is not being weak. I lost my brother and I lost friends, but I never cried. My mother would say: ‘One day you are going to explode.’
“I prefer to be an inspiration and example rather than a victim. I don’t want that role of victim even if the truth is, I’ve been a victim.”
Evra never told his mother about the abuse he suffered until recently when he knew it would be in his book, which will be released on Oct. 28. Telling her was perhaps the hardest part.
“Of course, she was devastated,” Evra said of his mom. “It was a tough moment for me. I have still to tell a few of my brothers and sisters and close friends.
“I don’t want people to feel pity. It’s a difficult situation. A mother does not expect to hear this from their own child. She felt something (was wrong) and had asked me why I did not want to sleep in the teacher’s house. Only now when I am 40 years old do I tell her. It was a big shock for her. A lot of anger. She said she was sorry. She said: ‘You must not put it in your book, it’s private Patrice,’ but that’s when I say, Mum, it’s not about me, it’s about other kids then she says OK, she understands.
“I know the book will mean people will change their view of me, but I am more than happy to talk with people. I am a better version of myself. My friends will say, ‘oh the world will react, think of the pressure,’ but the biggest pressure is to say it to my mum. Even thinking about it now, it’s hard.
“The first thing my mum says is, ‘if you don’t sue him, I’ll sue him. If he’s still alive, I’m going to kill him.’ There is a lot of rage. I know my mum and people from my family will do research and see if they can sue. But I buried this thing so deep I didn’t think about (prosecution).”
Evra’s revelations come at a time when soccer is dealing with abuse allegations around the world. The NWSL has faced a major upheaval after allegations of abuse have been levied against almost every team in the league, including major allegations against former coaches Paul Riley and Richie Burke. Those stories sparked other women to come out against abuse from Australia to Venezuela.
“I’ll be honest with you, when I first did the book, I didn’t tell the whole story because I was still ashamed and scared about what people will think and now I want to say it because I don’t want kids to be in my situation and they are ashamed of themselves, thinking they are not brave, because it’s not about being brave, it’s about being mentally ready to talk about it,” Evra said.
“So I just want to make sure kids out there have the courage and do not blame themselves, because I always blamed myself. I’m not shy to say I felt like a coward for many years because I never speak up. It was something heavy in my chest. But I don’t do it for me, I do it for other children.”