Every day, at the Maison des femmes de Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), eighty women are welcomed, listened to and treated for cases of domestic, family or sexual violence. The founder of this place, which has become a reference in France, is Ghada Hatem-Gantzer, a Franco-Lebanese gynecologist-obstetrician. Today she is a figure in the fight against violence against women, both in terms of prevention and cure.

Born in Beirut into a Christian family, the one who considers herself a “Survivor” grew up with the civil war that was then hitting his country. She then followed her medical studies in Paris. Her history and bicultural identity, her feminist convictions and the reasons for her engagement, she tells them in her book In the land of ordinary machismo (Editions de l’Aube, 2020).

His latest book, Sex and love in real life (First, 2020), illustrated by Clémentine du Pontavice, is a sexuality education manual intended for young adults, in which she tackles without taboos and from a feminist perspective the themes of love and pleasure, of consent. , homosexuality, virility and femininity …

For The world, she looks back on her founding years, between the end of her childhood and the start of her medical career.

What memories do you keep from your first years in Lebanon?

I was born in 1959. My childhood is first and foremost war. I was a little broken and scratched, like all the children of my generation. As far back as I can remember, I have lived with the constant air attacks, curfews, blue paper stuck to windows to stay hidden. I wasn’t going to school anymore and I was scared. I have developed interests and skills that are different from other children. For example, I learned to knit. By reading the review Hi buddies that I was able to pick up at the tobacconist across from my house, I said to myself: “Some have a hell of a life, but it’s not mine! “

“I understood very early on the importance of autonomy, of doing a job that you choose, without allowing yourself to be imposed on anything by others”

From my adolescence, I especially remember the intellectual emulation of the French high school in Beirut. There, I was bottle-fed French literature. We were studying the spirit of the Enlightenment or the May 68 movement. It was very exciting, I had fascinating exchanges with my teachers, young French detached who had chosen not to do their military service to teach at the foreign. They were very cultured and inspiring.

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