Brave Miss World: A Story of Rape and Recovery

by December 8, 2014
filed under Activism
Topics ,

Trigger warning

Linor Abargil seemed to be living out her dreams: After winning the Miss Israel title, she also won the Miss World competition. Little did the world know that only weeks earlier, she was abducted, raped and stabbed in Milan by Uri Schlomo Nur, a travel agent whom she met through her modeling agency. News of the rape exploded after the Miss World competition, and her rapist was convicted in a highly publicized court case. Linor decided to use her Miss World title to fight against sexual violence and give support to other victims of rape.

Brave Miss World explores the life of Linor and her travels around the world to meet with and help other victims of rape. The documentary is a real eye-opener to how problematic and common sexual violence is all around the world. 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime, and 1 in 4 women in college are victims of rape or attempted rape. Unfortunately, 60% of rapes are not reported to the police.

Linor lives in Tel-Aviv, Israel and speaks personally with other rape victims, sometimes even meeting them face-to-face. Throughout the film, she travels to Cleveland to NYC to South Africa and around the globe to hear the stories of other women. While in Soweto, South Africa, Linor and her mother spoke with a group of girls who shared their heartbreaking stories, and learned that this kind of sexual violence happens frequently in the continent. According to the film, a young woman is more likely to be raped than educated in South Africa, and only 1 out of 56 cases is said to be reported. Sharon, one of the young women Linor met in Soweto, says, “they want to spread HIV and AIDS. When they rape a little young girl, they think, ‘you know, that girl is still a virgin. I’m going to spread that disease to her, and then I’m going to get cured.’” Rape is a serious problem throughout the world, but in South Africa, it is far too common.

Miss World also made her way to Princeton University, where she spoke to students about sexual assault. The school wouldn’t permit her to meet with students on campus, but she did meet with students off campus at the Nassau Inn. Linor’s presence at the university is incredibly important, because rape and assault on campuses are also very common. Sometimes it seems that campuses do too little in the case of sexual assault, and Linor’s welcoming presence was a safe haven for victims. Many students, especially those attending big name schools, don’t press charges or file reports because it seems as if it’s going against the school, or potentially against an organization at the school, like a sports team or a Greek organization.

Linor spoke to women of all ages, and even spoke with celebrities who had been raped. Joan Collins, a famous English actress, shared her story about being raped at 17 and eventually marrying her rapist because he took her virginity. Fran Drescher, star of the hit show, The Nanny, also spoke about being raped at gunpoint by a home intruder. Linor’s conversations with these women are truly breathtaking, because it really emphasizes that sexual assault can happen to anyone, even celebrities.

Although Brave Miss World focuses on the issues of sexual assault to females, Linor acknowledges that men can also be affected by sexual assault as well. In fact, 1 out of 6 men have been sexually abused in the United States. Linor spoke with Jim Clemente, who shared his experience of being raped at fifteen years old by the director of a camp he attended. Many people have a misconception about sexual assault and believe that only women can be raped. Linor’s conversation with Jim disproves this idea immediately, and shows that men are just as deeply affected as women.

Rape is a serious, international issue. To put an end to sexual violence, education about the issue is necessary for all people. Brave Miss World is a step in the right direction. Linor’s story and activism shows that through education about sexual violence and sharing individual experience, one person can make a serious impact on others.

Find out more about Brave Miss World and Linor here.

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