A national heroine in Israel, Linor Abargil was crowned Miss World in March of 1998.
A month and a half before the Miss World competition, she had suffered a brutal rape while modeling in Italy. After the subsequent trial, which resulted in a 16 year prison sentence for her rapist, the young Linor made a public statement before the entire nation of Israel, counseling other women to not be afraid of reporting their rapes, and to seek punishment for the perpetrators. She then returned to a private process of healing but resolved to one day do something about the crime of rape.
Linor immersed herself in drama studies and was soon discovered by the stage and cast in leading roles in Tel Aviv. One of them was in "The Blue Room", in the role played by Nicole Kidman onstage in London and New York. Linor has continued to perform on the stage, to write and record music, and is currently enrolled in law school. She intends to use her law degree to represent women who are victims of sexual violence. She is now fulfilling her hope to address the issue of rape by embarking upon a speaking tour to encourage victims of rape to speak out, not to blame themselves, and not to stay silent. She hopes her message will lead to greater credibility for rape survivors in the eyes of the police and the courts, and for longer prison sentences for rapists. She is also filming a documentary in which she will tell her own story and reach out to rape survivors around the world, encouraging them to tell theirs.
- Linor's journey – along with the journey of many women – is currently being developed into a documentary by Producer/Director Cecilia Peck. The film is based on Linor's personal story, but also on the reality of the rape of women throughout the world. In the film, Linor will share how she coped with her 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 their silence. Linor will investigate the status of rape in different countries, gather data on the state of legislation in the world and travel with the aim of gathering strength from women in order to make a change, both in legislation and in the world's awareness of the epidemic of rape and sexual assaults around the world.
End the Silence
Former rape survivor and Miss World 1998 Linor Abargil addresses the issues of rape and sexual assault. She uses her own experience to advocate for speaking out and pressing charges, and urges other survivors not to stay silent and not to blame themselves.
"One of the things that differentiates Linor from other speakers that I've seen is that with other speakers, when telling their own story, you don't get the sense that they are still making peace. You get the sense that they have made peace and that's why they're able to come tell you their story. From Linor there is an intensity that's part of her healing, part of a mission that's still new and something she's really passionate about. There's an immediacy about her speech. We've had lots of lovely speakers before, real pros, but there is something more raw about Linor's experience because this is her "now." She's embarked on a journey to use her experience to make right. She's still traveling that road, so there is something very compelling about watching someone who's up there and who's still in process."
"Here is the interesting thing about Linor. People see date rape as very muddy and a very grey area, but what happened to Linor, no one could ever possibly dispute. With a lot of the cases that get reported here on campus, there are plenty of opportunities for people to say, ‘well you know she was drun'k, and there are lots of loopholes. There are no loopholes in what happened to Linor." - Participants/organizers of the ‘Take Back the Night' rally at Princeton, 2009