Brave Miss World: From Rape Survivor To Beauty Queen On A Mission To Make A Difference

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Brave Miss World: From Rape Survivor To Beauty Queen On A Mission To Make A Difference
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(Warning: graphic material in trailer) Israeli beauty queen Linor Abargil was just 18 years old when she was abducted and raped in Milan, Italy two months before being crowned Miss World in 1998. In the 2014 Emmy-nominated film Brave Miss World, Linor and the film’s director Cecilia Peck explore the trauma of sexual assault through her journey from teenage rape victim to Miss World to empowered lawyer and activist. In sharing her experience, Linor hopes to give others the courage to break their silence.

With the release of the film, Linor shared this message:

linor_poster

Since my rape was reported in the international media, wherever I go in the world, for work or otherwise, people approach me and confide that they too were raped, and that I was a role model for them. “You gave us the courage to tell someone, to press charges. You helped us recover.”

The encounters with these women, along with a lot of therapy, have helped me understand how after the trial, I went into hiding. I wanted my privacy, and I couldn’t engage publicly with the issue of rape. But at the same time, I knew that there was a reason for what had happened, and I had an increasing sense of not things not being resolved. I have come to believe that the rape and the spotlight as a Miss World are part of my destiny. I feel compelled to share my story and reach out to millions of women around the world in their painful plight; a plight that in so many cases exceeds my own.

Together we can try to understand what happened to our lives after that trauma, how the course of our lives changed, the self accusation and the fears, and how we can rise up, rehabilitate and take care for ourselves.

Figures indicate that 80% of rapes are unreported. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of support from a rape victim’s family and friends. I know from experience how alienating it can be. The people closest to a rape victim treat them differently when she needs them the most. Studies also attest that most rape cases occur within the family or by a person whom the victim knew prior to the rape. The law in many countries in the world is not on the side of rape victims, and the sentences for rape and sexual assault are terribly inadequate. Even in progressive nations, rape convictions are rare.

The film is based on my personal story, but also on the reality of the rape of women throughout the world. I had the complete support of my family after being raped, but I know I was very lucky to have had that and it is so often not the case. I try, during the film, to share how I coped with my own trauma, while reaching out to women around the world and encouraging them to rise up and press charges. To speak out. Not to hold your silence.

Together we can try to understand what happened to our lives after that trauma, how the course of our lives changed, the self accusation and the fears, and how we can rise up, rehabilitate and take care for ourselves.

The film, originally released in 2013, is available on Netflix, or to find a screening near you or to host your own screening, visit the Brave Miss World website.

In addition to the film, Linor has created Speak Out, a community and forum for rape and sexual assault victims to share their stories, connect and inspire one another to seek and receive the help they may need.


The film is supported by grants from Women In Film, Foundation for Jewish Culture, Artemis Rising Foundation and The Fledgling Fund.

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