Linor Abargil was born on February 17, 1980, in Israel. She is a lawyer, actress, and model. Linor won the Miss World beauty pageant in 1998 becoming the first Israeli woman to win this crown, shortly after being brutally raped and assaulted. Her survival story has inspired millions of women across the globe. After surviving the horrific rape, Linor decided to dedicate her life to fight against sexual violence.
It was never a dream for Linor Abargil to be a model and win beauty pageants. She was born and brought up in a humble family. When she heard that the winner of Miss World will get a free trip to Thailand and a new car, she decided to participate in the competition. Linor started modeling in her own country and soon she was sent to Milan, Italy by a modeling agency to learn more in modeling. Within a few weeks, Linor felt homesick in Italy and asked her modeling agency to help her change her ticket to return home. But fate had something else in store for her. Linor kidnapped and raped at knifepoint by her travel agent, Uri Shlomo Nur, in Milan.
This incident broke Linor but her mother encouraged her to continue her efforts for winning the Miss World 1998 title and also to report the rape to Italian authorities. Italy released Nur due to lack of evidence. Linor Abargil later reported the rape to Israeli authorities, who issued an arrest warrant for Nur and started extradition proceedings. Meanwhile, Linor Abargil with her strength and determination won the prestigious Miss World 1998 title. She was welcomed by a huge crowd in her country upon returning who knew nothing about her ordeal.
To get the culprit jailed, Linor Abargil had to undergo a painful, public trial. Linor said:
“It was terribly humiliating, it was another rape. It stops a lot of girls and women from pressing charges because the rapist’s lawyers intimidate victims and get charges dropped. But I’m here to tell you how important it is to take the stand.”
Her assaulter Nur was tricked by Police into returning to Israel. He was tried for Linor’s brutal rape and subsequently convicted to 16 years in prison. Gathering her confidence and strength from this, Linor encouraged other women to report sexual assaults on them to the police.
In 2013, a documentary film about Linor Abargil’s struggle and survival named Brave Miss World based on the rape, and subsequent activism, was released to inspire women around the world. Linor has literally proved that a woman’s strength can’t ever be underestimated. Physically suppressing her by violence can not dampen her spirits. Linor went on to win the coveted title of Miss World just after seven weeks of her being raped shows the inner strength of a woman. Linor Abargil not just won the Miss World 1998 but also hearts of millions of women across the globe. You are truly a Wonderful Woman Linor!