Interview Sand Van Roy: “I didn’t know whether I wanted to cry, or laugh..”

Interview Sand Van Roy: “I didn’t know whether I wanted to cry, or laugh..”

She’s the #MeToo victim whose story appeared in the media without her consent. Now, actress Sand Van Roy is taking back the narrative.

Since May 2018, actress Sand Van Roy has been involved in a police investigation concerning rape. The accused? Film producer Luc Besson. After Sand filed a criminal complaint for rape, 8 other women came forward to address sexual misconduct regarding Besson.

In this interview Sand and I will discuss her confrontation with Luc Besson last week, the complicity of the media when it comes to reporting about rape, and online violence.

Luc Besson and Sand Van Roy. An image released by AFP after Sand’s name was leaked to the media; it appears it was cropped from a group shot and shows Sand ‘smiling’ next to Besson, during a photo-call. Media used the image when the story broke, painting Van Roy as if she was solo with Besson somewhere.

Hi Sand. I believe you, so in this interview I will not use ‘alleged’ abuser to refer to the man who raped you, because as a fellow rape-victim, I know how painful this is. So for anyone reading this article: any questions with references to Luc Besson, are my own personal opinion.

Sand: “Thank you. That’s a huge relief.”

Anytime. It seems only in rape cases the victim is not ‘innocent until proven a liar’…

Sand: “When someone gets robbed they were not “allegedly robbed“, but somehow rape confuses people..”

This is true and infuriating to many victims. The whole process of finding justice is incredibly draining due to how victims are treated. Last week you had a confrontation with Besson, with the police present. How many people knew you had a meeting with the police and him that day?

Sand: “I did. Only my mom, my lawyer, my therapist, my best friend and you knew. I mentioned it only to a couple of people; to keep the press out of it.”

And you trust those people?

Sand: Of course.

Then it must have been strange for you that on the same day, hours after the confrontation, magazine Le Point already published an article about the confrontation?

Sand: “Yes, especially because the article contained a lot of false information. I didn’t know whether I wanted to cry, or laugh.. They even suggested the police was on Besson’s side, which is very offensive. The police is on the law’s side. Strangely, they changed the article within hours and removed most of the false information..”

I noticed that! I remember messaging you to tell you they had already published about it. I found it incredibly strange because I knew almost nobody knew about the confrontation, except for your social circle, and Luc Besson. Le Point made it out as if they spoke with the police without naming anyone. I tweeted at them instantly to ask for their source, because I didn’t trust the article. They refused to comment.

Sand: “Of course they refused to comment. They have been spreading lies about me ever since I filed a police report. They called me an ex-call girl, a crazy person, his ex girlfriend... The worst insult is probably calling me his ex girlfriend. 

It seems pretty strange to call you an ex girlfriend while Luc Besson is married.. He has quite a controversial history when it comes to marriages. He impregnated a 15 year old Maïwenn Le Besco while he was 32, married her when she was 16, and later left her for actress Milla Jovovich (whom he divorced as well). It surprises me he’s been able to build a career with such a history. What emotions went through you when you saw Besson last week? Did you make eye-contact?

Sand Van Roy. Photo: Perla Maarek.

Sand: “My mind was clear. My brain knew he couldn’t touch me, but my body didn’t get the memo. Physically I was terrified. I was shaking, couldn’t breathe... I felt sick at times. No eye contact was allowed which was a good thing, because at one point my fear translated into anger.”

When did the fear turn into anger?

Sand: “When he started lying about what happened on the 18th in the Bristol. I got angry.”

The Bristol?

Sand: “The Bristol hotel, he raped me in his suite. He claimed we shared a “love story” but the opposite was made clear by numerous lies and bulletproof evidence against him.”

What can you say about Besson’s emotional reactions during the confrontation?

Sand: “I think there were none. He didn’t seem upset. He didn’t seem sad. He didn’t seem anything. He just seemed annoyed the procedure was taking up a couple of hours of his precious time.”

How could you tell he seemed annoyed?

Sand: “Because he mentioned he had to catch a plane so we better wrap it up.”

Sounds like he wanted to get out of the country quickly.. France seems to finally catch-up with the news about Besson after the other women came forward about his devious behaviour. The media isn’t as kind to him anymore as they were before. Could you tell us more about how your story originally hit the press?

Sand: “I was on my way to the hospital and somebody had leaked my name to the press. I hadn’t even filed a complaint yet. Those 24 hours were very traumatic. 

So this happened on the day you were raped…

Sand: “Yes. The same day.”

When you were on your way to the hospital, was the police there with you?

Sand: “Yes, the police was driving me. I wasn’t sure whether to file a criminal report yet. It was after the hospital visit, after the rape-kit, when I realised in what bad shape I was physically. Then, I decided to go through with it.”

And beside the police, who else knew what happened to you?

Sand: “I only told people I trust. My close friends. And of course Luc knew what happened.”

When you left the hotel after he raped you, did you speak with him?

Sand: “Yes. I told him after he handed me some money for a cab: “That’s expensive for a rape isn’t it?” does not display third party advertisements because we believe information and knowledge that informs or protects the public, should be (clutter)free.

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