A FORMER tennis star revealed she was raped as a child three times per day by her coach.
And she described the shocking ordeal as being trapped “in prison” from the age of 12.
Angelique Cauchy testified about the sexual abuse she suffered by her tennis coachCredit: YouTube/Le Parisien
French prodigy Angelique Cauchy started working with coach Andrew Gueddes aged 12 in 1999 at the Sarcelles Tennis Club in North Paris.
However, within weeks, convicted child rapist Gueddes started sexually harassing Cauchy.
Gueddes was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2021 after being found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting four girls aged between 12 and 17.
Cauchy, 36, estimates that the abuse she suffered totalled 200 times per year – but insists the tennis club’s president ignored the complaints because Gueddes was a successful coach.
The survivor testified to the Palais Bourbon, part of the French National Assembly, last week.
She said: “It happened within not even two or three months.
“I told him, ‘No, you shouldn’t, it’s not right, I don’t want to.’
“And he replied to me, ‘You know it happens sometimes in relationships between coach and student, we spend a lot of time together, it’s normal.’
“It was known in the tennis world that his behaviour with young girls was not correct.
“When a woman complained to the club president that he had behaved inappropriately towards young people with verbal and physical violence, the answer was, ‘Yes, but he brings us titles.’
“At 38, you don’t go out with a girl of 15, let alone when you’re training her.”
Cauchy also opened up bravely on the trauma she experienced during a 15-day training camp in La Baule, West France, where Gueddes’ predatory behaviour was inescapable.
And she revealed it was so bad that she considered taking her own life to put an end to the horrific abuse.
Cauchy – who is now a PE teacher and tennis coach – was also blackmailed by Gueddes into believing she had contracted Aids from her coach.
I thought many times about committing suicide… I was in prison
She said in a heartbreaking statement: “I lived the worst two weeks of my life.
“I thought many times about committing suicide.
“He raped me three times a day.
“The first night he asked me to go to his room and I didn’t do it, then he came into mine.
“It was worse. I was in prison.
“I couldn’t get out when I wanted and afterwards, I had to stay in the place where it had happened.
“The evenings after, it seems crazy, but I went there on my own, and I took those thirteen steps that separated me from his room.
“I lived between 13 and 18 years old thinking I had AIDS.”
In April 2022, 21-time doubles Grand Slam champion and world No1 Pam Shriver revealed she had a “traumatic”, “damaging” and “inappropriate” relationship with her coach.
Last September, Pierre Bouteyre – the ex-coach of French tennis ace Fiona Ferro – was charged with raping and sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
Bouteyre, 52, denied the claims, saying their relationship was “a true love story”.
How you can get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.