“I needed time to digest this shock.” That’s how Spanish actress Hiba Abouk explained why she had remained silent after her husband, Paris Saint-Germain and Morocco soccer star Achraf Hakimi, was accused of rape a month ago.
Since the Prosecutor’s Office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre opened an investigation on February 27, the 35-year-old actress has refused to talk about the allegations, as have Hakimi and the player’s parents and siblings. But the media has focused more on the silence of Abouk, who has two children with Hakimi: Amin, three, and Naím, 13 months.
On Monday, the actress broke her silence in a statement, claiming that she had been estranged from Hakimi for weeks prior to the rape allegations.
“The reality is that some time ago, after much reflection, the father of my children and I made the decision to end our relationship, long before the events in which I have been involved in the media and of which I am totally unaware,” she said in the statement, to which EL PAÍS has had access.
“After taking the decision to legally separate and stop living together, while awaiting the divorce proceedings, who would have imagined that in addition to facing the usual pain that comes with a separation, and accepting the pain that comes with the failure of a family project to which I had given body and soul, I would have to face this ignominy” she added in the release, which she later shared in an Instagram story.
Since the beginning of her career, Abouk — who is the star of the Spanish TV show El Príncipe — has been a vocal activist for human rights and refugees. Her parents, of Tunisian and Libyan origin, arrived in Spain in 1975. She says that thanks to the welcome she and her parents received in Spain, they were able to launch successful careers. But she also recognizes that she has suffered discrimination. In an interview with EL PAÍS, she explained that she was told to change her name to further her career.
French newspaper Le Parisien first reported the Nanterre Prosecutor’s Office investigation, which it said was opened after a woman aged 24 told police in late February that she had been raped. Hakimi firmly denied the allegation, according to his lawyer, Fanny Colin, who has stated that the allegations stem from an extortion attempt. The player has been placed under police monitoring and has been banned from contact with the alleged victim while the investigation continues. The Le Parisien report said the young woman did not file a formal complaint but that the prosecutor’s office decided to investigate.
Colin said her client being indicted is an “obligatory step for any person being accused of rape” and will allow Hakimi to defend himself by giving him access to the case.
Hiba Abouk's full statement
Today I feel it is my duty to make public this statement to express my state of mind and to clarify in first person the erroneous information that is circulating. And even though silence may help in certain delicate matters or issues, I have the urgent need to explain myself, so that I can resume my personal, public and professional life in the least harmful and traumatic way possible, protecting above all my children who are, as it cannot be otherwise, my absolute priority.
The reality is that some time ago, after much reflection, the father of my children and I made the decision to end our relationship, long before the events in which I have been involved in the media and of which I am totally unaware. After making the decision to legally separate and stop living together, while waiting for the divorce proceedings, who would have imagined that in addition to facing the usual pain that comes with a separation, and accept the grief that comes with the failure of a family project to which I had given body and soul, I would have to face this shame. I needed time to digest this shock.
It goes without saying that in my life I have always been and will always be on the side of the victims, therefore, given the seriousness of the accusation, we can only trust in the good work of justice.
I ask you to respect my privacy and that of my children in these delicate circumstances.
Thank you to all the people who have shown me their support, affection and respect.