SportsThe Raised Fist allows women victims of domestic violence...

The Raised Fist allows women victims of domestic violence to rebuild themselves through boxing

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A dozen women will once again struggle to the sound of Eye of the Tiger from the soundtrack of Rocky 3, this Monday evening at the Jean-Généty gymnasium (Lyon 4th). In the heart of the Croix Rousse district, these mothers, aged 20 to 55, got back into sport in September thanks to Renouveau Boxe. The other licensees of this Lyon boxing club know nothing of their life course, but all share the pain of having been victims of domestic violence.

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The beginnings of the association’s social integration project date back to November 2019. With the Rotary Lyon Val de Saône, and in particular the lawyer Geneviève Seguin-Jourdan, Renouveau Boxe then organized in Caluire (Rhône), a gala against violence made to women, in the presence of former renowned boxers such as Mahyar Monshipour, Hacine Cherifi and Myriam Lamare, godmother of the club. Wishing to create a program throughout the year, the club was stopped in its tracks by the Covid-19, before responding to a call for projects launched by Impact 2024, as part of the endowment fund for the next Games. Olympics in Paris.

“They must reclaim their bodies”

With valuable financial assistance in hand for the 2021-2022 season, Renouveau Boxe therefore opened three training slots last September, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, to this public in search of “reconstruction”. The flyers distributed at random in the 1st and 4th arrondissements of Lyon, as well as exchanges with social structures, push a dozen women to timidly cross the door of the Jean-Généty gymnasium.

A dozen women victims of violence take part in boxing training in Lyon. – Jérémy Laugier / 20 Minutes
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“These women did not take time for themselves, it is as if they no longer existed, explains Hamza Djedoui, president of the club since 2017. And then they have to reclaim their bodies. The idea of ​​confronting men with gloves is not at all obvious to them at first. »

“We can blend in with the crowd without being stigmatized”

But each regular sees her confidence in herself and in her partners grow, through boxing training, but also skiing, hiking, the Tête d’Or park, the theater or even karaoke, through the The Raised Fist program. So many completely free activities, with even possible support for children for these neo-boxers. All wish to remain anonymous. After eight years without practicing any sport, one of them measures the contribution of this regular meeting, marked by “solidarity and benevolence”.

“Here, I’m not the only one to have this experience and low self-esteem when I arrive. Coming to boxing clears my head. Thanks to this program, we can rebuild and recreate a social life. You can blend in with the crowd without being stigmatized. »

Because, unlike certain actions aimed at women victims of violence, they integrate, when they feel ready, a classic training slot, and mainly male. “It took me four months to rub shoulders with men in boxing, confides one of the participants of the Raised Fist. I’m slowly learning to trust them again. »

“We find a strength in us that we did not suspect”

Boxing releases them and even reveals them, both physically and mentally. “We imagine that the punching bag is ‘such a person’, admits one of them. After a few sessions, we find a strength in us that we did not suspect. Former vice-champion of France in the lightweight category, Samir Hamzaoui has been their boxing teacher for eight months.

“Boxing seems to be a violent activity but, in the ring, we are partners and not adversaries: there is an attacker and a defender, presents the sports educator. We have in front of us an audience who has morfled, who has a lot of modesty. You have to realize how huge the process of joining the club is for these women. This is why we had to weigh each word to help them, gently, to break down barriers. Some, for example, did not dare to put on gloves at all at the start. »

“It’s still a long Way of the Cross”

This is also why the practice of fitness boxing, without gloves, is offered, and self-defense courses will soon be offered as well. Samir Hamzaoui appreciates seeing them all “moving forward together”: “They are now much more relaxed. Here, they are like in a bubble, it is reassuring for them”. If, like him, Hamza Djedoui does not want to interfere in the private lives of the women of the Raised Fist, she notes that most of them “have had the strength to leave the marital home” in recent months.

Budding boxers exchange cooking recipes and sometimes share aperitifs without Hamza and Samir. Their metamorphosis is already spectacular, according to the president of Renouveau Boxe: “Even their posture has changed: we saw them arrive bent over, their heads tucked in, and there they straightened up and they are smiling. It remains a long way of the cross as they remain in a certain terror. This is why our action cannot stop there. They feel stronger mentally, it’s a real renewal for them. Thirteen years after its creation, the Croix-Rousse boxing club has never lived up to its name so well.

Contact: [email protected] and 0651616271.

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Source: 20minutes

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