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Former Miss World's rape documentary goes global

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Linor Abargil should have been ecstatic to receive her Miss World crown back in 1998. But those weren't tears of joy she was shedding, tragically she has been raped just six weeks before and was overwhelmed by emotion while on stage.

Now a recently released documentary follows the story of this amazing young Israeli woman who refused to be silenced.

The documentary follows the trial of the man who had raped Abargil in Milan while she was on a modelling trip. He was sentenced to 16 years, after the model refused to remain silent.

And as a result she encouraged other women to break their silence and became a national symbol and helped destigmatise rape in the country.

This led to the 34-year-old producing a documentary, Brave Miss World, in which she interviews dozens of other rape survivors, many of which haven't shared their heartbreaking stories before. And now her crusade against sexual violence is going global, thanks to an international speaking tour and screenings of the film.

In the documentary, shot over four years, Abargil listens to the stories of rape victims ranging from American college students to young South African girls to Hollywood celebrities like Joan Collins, who disclosed for the first time that she married the man who raped her.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Abargil said: "If you go through something very bad or very hard, the only pill you can take is to tell, to take it out of your system. Because if you don't, it is like a tumor — it becomes bigger and bigger until it kills you. I feel that I have this privilege to really help other women to open up."

Director Cecilia Peck, daugther of actor Gregory Peck, charts Abargil's journey from teenage rape victim to outspoken lawyer and activist and finally to wife and mother who discovered a newfound comfort in her Jewish faith.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, America's largest anti-sexual violence organization, one out of six American women has been the victim of rape or an attempted rape, with 60 % of them unreported to police. The figures are similar in Israel and other Western nations and far higher in the developing world.

Peck said the film's website had become a focal point for victims to speak out. More than 300,000 people already have visited the site bravemissworld.com, with many writing about the abuse they experienced and hundreds of emails arrive each day.

You can watch the trailer for Brave Miss World below.

(Image: Associated Press)

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