If RC Lens celebrated with dignity its superb 2nd place and its direct qualification for the group stage of the Champions League last Saturday after its success at the expense of AC Ajaccio (3-0), testimonies of northern supporters denouncing sexual assault and harassment in the stands have emerged on social networks for a few days. The artesian club takes them very seriously and has launched an investigation. They refer to facts that correspond to sexual assault and/or sexual harassment. La Voix du Nord collected the testimonies of several women victims of these attacks.
Among them, Celine, 27, who visited the Bollaert stadium for the first time in 2019. Last year, when he came out of the toilet in the first half of a game, three men prevented him from leaving. "I ask them to let me pass. Once, twice... Two of them begin to advance towards me insistently. I start to panic, I try to push them, but I couldn't feel my legs anymore. One of them blocks the door, the other two are glued to me. I could feel alcohol in their breathing. They would say, "You're good, what are you doing here?" I ended up screaming. A steward passes by at this moment and asks if there is a problem. He cleared them, and in passing there was one who touched my buttocks," she says. "I met exceptional people in Bollaert, but there are some who have nothing to do there and who tarnish the image of the fans," she added. Since that episode, she has never returned to the stadium.
Emma, 17, is wary of "those who take advantage of the crowd movement and allow themselves to have wandering hands"
La Voix du Nord also mentions the case of Camille, 24 years old. She, too, broke the silence after suffering several cases of sexual harassment. Last April, back from a trip to the Parc des Princes, the back of the bus began to sing "And the blonde we disgusting". Then, on his birthday, part of the platform begins to sing: "Go ahead, Camille show us your butt, go Camille, show us your ass". Now, when she takes her place in the stands of Bollaert, she has "tendency to put on a big sweater" that will hide her body, because some have taken pictures of her in the stands without her knowledge. Emma, 17, knows she has to be wary of "those who take advantage of the crowd movement and allow themselves to have wandering hands when the opportunity arises, most of whom are heavily alcoholic."
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To our colleagues, RC Lens said it had opened an investigation: "It's a very good thing if the word is free, even if it is abrupt for the club. We had never had any feedback of this type, otherwise we would have acted immediately. If people have been victims of such acts, we invite them to file a complaint and contact the club. The message is also passed on to security personnel: in the event of a report in the middle of a match, people must be able to intervene. If there are victims, we will be on their side." The management adds: "If there is a report that the facts are proven, these people will no longer set foot in Bollaert. There is not a shadow of a place for people like that. Lens is joyful fervor and it must remain so."