Okay- my first real post!
If you haven't already seen it, I must insist that as soon as you have finished reading this post, you go and watch the documentary Brave Miss World. It is a story that will undoubtedly bring you to tears, like it did me. It is a story that will also make you believe in the strength of survivors, and the realisation that sadly there is still so much work to do around the world before women achieve "equality". It is the story of Linor Abargil, who at 18 years old who was brutally raped, just 6 weeks before winning the Miss World title in 1998.
When I use the word 'equality' I am not referring to achieving equal pay for men and women. I am not talking about the same number of men and women being represented in positions of power. I am also not talking about the division of household chores. I am not referring to these things not because I think that these are unimportant- I don't- but because I am talking about an even more basic human right that needs to be achieved in order for these other factors to no longer be an issue. The right to not be raped. The right to decide as a human being who can or cannot touch our bodies. The right to not be violated, humiliated and victimised by another.
Israeli born Linor was working in Rome when she was held in the back of a car for 3 hours whilst she was raped and stabbed by a travel agent. Even though she knew no one in the country, and didn't speak the language, at the advice of her mother she went to the police station and pressed charges, and to the hospital for the collection of vital forensic evidence. She moved to have her case heard in Israel, instead of Italy, and in 1999 the Israeli Court found Linor's rapist guilty of her rape. To this day, she still fights to keep him there, and block his release. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, Linor is not the only woman he has raped.
The documentary follows Linor, who at great personal expense (psychologically), spends her time travelling the world sharing her story, and reaching out to other rape survivors.
Everything about Linor's story will show you how strong, brave and selfless she continues to be. But this story isn't just about Linor. It is about all rape survivors, around the world. It is about the survivors that have shared their stories and pressed charges, the ones that got convictions and the ones that didn't, the ones that shared their stories and were not believed, and those that have never been able to share their stories at all.
It is about how in 2017, women still do not have the right to their own bodies. And no, it is not only women who are victims of rape, but it is largely women who are the victims of rape. And it doesn't matter what country you live in, it is happening every damn day. When will it be enough? When will we start raising sons and daughters to respect the rights of others? When will rape myths, stigma and shame be removed from the survivors and placed ONLY on the shoulders of the perpetrators? It is because of women like Linor, that continue to fight for these rights, that I have hope that one day they can be achieved.
This is the story of the woman who’s name so many people will remember forever. Brave Miss World.