While preparing coffee, this 40-year-old shows the frames that hide the traces of the punches on the wall.

“We try to change the decor, it avoids thinking too much,” explains Marie, whose ex-spouse was sentenced this summer.

She had met him six years ago. The violence entered the home in 2018 when, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, “he attacked me with cigarette burns, turning the apartment over”.

She forgives him because he is the father of one of her children and there are “feelings” left. Years of beatings and psychological violence followed.

“He destroyed what belonged to my deceased mother, there is a flying vacuum cleaner, a broken fridge, to hurt, to sting, to destroy”, she lists.

Like Marie, a third of the French population lives in rural areas, according to INSEE.

It is in these dense or very sparsely populated municipalities that 50% of feminicides take place, the government indicated last year.

– Controlled movements –

In a study carried out in 2022 in New Aquitaine, sociologist Johanna Dagorn explains that the inhabitants of rural areas “cumulate the factors of aggression”: sometimes distant from neighbors and confronted with reinforced gender stereotypes, they also undergo control exacerbated social.

The victims are afraid of “making a mess in the village” if they speak and not to be believed, explains the sociologist to AFP.

Especially when the neighbors have “a very correct image” of the executioner, confirms Sarah, victim of psychological violence from her former husband.

Because in this case, no one else “will come and tell you that it’s not normal”.

Still in Lot-et-Garonne, Cathia also suffered psychological violence for nearly eight years in a house surrounded by her spouse’s relatives.

“He said that his family was getting on his nerves by warning Be careful, you have to crush it, train it. To go shopping, I had to go out with his mother”, explains the 30-year-old who came from Algeria to join him.

“In town, I could have found women like me, to support each other. There, in the countryside with her family, it’s scary,” she says.

Without a vehicle on her arrival, she is faced with the lack of public transport.

This lack of autonomy accentuates the influence that passes through movement control: “Sometimes I went by car, when he did not take the keys”, says Marie, but the mileage was also monitored.

– “Nobody to go see” –

Also socially isolated, the latter only has “the right to work, and even when there are no phone calls with insults”.

According to her, “rural or not, people close their eyes. He could beat me up in the yard, nobody did anything”, but “being isolated from everyone creates a grip because he knows that I don’t I have no one to go see”.

At SOS Accueil Mamans-Enfants, in the neighboring town of Marmande, calls for help are reaching “a peak”, according to president Annick Cornaggia.

The association has already accompanied more than 200 victims “to the gendarmerie, to emergencies” or in their procedures.

Its structure is one of the few in the area. A lack raised by Johanna Dagorn, while the victims rarely know the national call numbers and prefer to go through the gendarmerie.

“It’s the only point of recourse,” says Sarah, stressing the importance of training agents.

A wish shared by Marie, who emerged “misunderstood” from a first complaint. Eight others followed before the arrest of her spouse, after a night spent sequestered and abused.

She was also helped by Annick, just like Cathia who admits it: “Without association, I would have continued because where I would have gone with my children?”. She was able to benefit from one of the accommodations made available in the department by a social landlord, Habitalys, of which the structure is a partner.

“We give them a lot of things to give them confidence”, explains Annick Cornaggia who admits that if in the campaign “everyone knows everything”, it also makes it easier to be warned to act.

For the latter, reachable day and night, the motto is clear: “Let’s save them while they are still alive”.