Followed by a discussion with Director Cecilia Peck

Brave Miss World movie header


Jewish Family Service presents film to help erase the shame and stigma of rape worldwide


On September 20 and 21, Jewish Family Service presented a documentary about rape to social service professionals and to college campuses.


But it was really a film about healing and hope.


Brave Miss World, an award-winning documentary, tells the story of Miss Israel Linor Abargil, who was abducted, stabbed and raped just weeks before she was crowned Miss World, and how she fought at a time when most victims would retreat in shame to change the way society views sexual assault and rape.


Ten years after her attack – years filled with a very difficult public trial that ended in a conviction of her attacker – Abargil finally felt healed enough to speak up and become a global advocate to erase the shame and stigma about rape worldwide.


“Why should I be ashamed? The fault was his, it wasn’t mine,” said Arbargil. She became a symbol in Israel as a survivor and decided to make a film so that her message about the importance of not staying silent could reach more people than she could reach alone.


“Wherever she went [in Israel], women approached her to thank her for her courage, and to say that she had helped them to tell someone, or to report, and to speak up about it,” said Cecilia Peck, the film’s director. “The year after her case, reports of rape rose significantly and Israeli laws were changed giving rape victims more rights.

Peck shared insights on creating the film and answered questions at a private showing with 95 professionals. Jewish Family Service also partnered with Cincinnati Hillel and Miami Hillel to present the film and Peck to students at University of Cincinnati and Miami University. A welcome by Miami University President Dr. Gregory Crawford reinforced the importance of this topic on the college campus.


The film encourages survivors to speak up and share their stories, giving support to others. But because 85% of rapes are by someone the survivor knows, it is often difficult to report. “Linor is a forceful advocate for speaking up. But Linor was in the minority. She had family support and a public voice with a crown. Not everyone CAN report. But at least tell a friend or family member so the pain isn’t internalized,” said Peck.

The film also acts as a guide to anyone who is a first responder to a survivor’s call about an attack. For survivors to not blame themselves and begin to heal, it is critical for the first words they hear to be, “I believe you. It wasn’t your fault. I’m going to help you.” 


Peck explained, “When we victim blame, even by asking ‘What were you wearing? Were you drinking?’ that silences the survivor and they start to believe it was their fault. Those questions we ask are actually accusations.  We have to stop putting responsibility on the drinking and put it on the rapist.”

Arbargil is now an Israeli lawyer, happily married and a mother of three. Making the film and reliving the pain was difficult, but she saw hope even in the darkest moments. She knew that even if she could change just one life and give one girl the courage to stand up for herself it would be worthwhile.


“Brave Miss World is about courage. It’s about the courage to stand up for what you believe in. It’s about someone who can change the world,” said Peck. “What I learned making this film is that our journey is to share our story…To show each other that together we can walk through the darkness and stand together in the light without shame.”


Bringing Brave Miss World and its director to Cincinnati is just one of many ways in the Jewish community that Jewish Family Service increases awareness about creating healthy relationships. Jewish Family Service was recently awarded a $10,000 grant by Verizon to help continue the discussion and create awareness to youth and adults about domestic violence.

FREE Private Showing

11:30 am - 1:30 pm 
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rockdale Temple
8501 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236


Free catered lunch with pre-registration



Israeli beauty queen Linor Abargil was abducted and raped in Milan, Italy two months before being crowned Miss World in 1998. Ten years later, she’s ready to talk about it – and to encourage others to speak out. Now a globe-trotting victims’ advocate, Linor encourages others to stand against sexual violence by putting an end to their silence. She travels to speak with teens in South Africa, where girls are statistically more likely to be raped than educated. She visits U.S. college campuses where women describe a campus culture that fails to take assaults seriously. From rape crisis centers worldwide, to Hollywood’s living rooms, Linor is met with emotional support, but the advocacy work causes her own trauma to resurface. When she attends a celebrity rape trial that hits too close to home, she suffers a breakdown and symptoms of PTSD. In searching for something to ease her pain, Linor turns to Orthodox Judaism. "It's like losing a daughter," her secular mother laments. "But better than alcohol, anorexia, bulimia, or so many other crises that can happen to victims." Linor returns to Italy for the first time since her rape, in an attempt to face her fears and to find the prosecutor who collaborated with Israeli authorities to arrest the serial rapist. While there, in an extraordinary twist of fate, she meets up with another woman raped by the same man in eerily identical circumstances. For victims of sexual assault, the journey toward wholeness never ends; still, Linor Abargil, the BRAVE MISS WORLD, continues her unflinching efforts to keep the nightmares at bay.

Directly following the film will be a discussion and Q&A with Director Cecilia Peck who will share with the community how this inspiring documentary can help change the world and the way society views sexual assault and rape.


To learn more about Brave Miss World, visit their website

The community is invited to the following free JFS cosponsored events... 





Miami University

September 20, 2016
7 - 9 pm
Armstrong Student Center, Pavillion C
For more info:





University of Cincinnati

September 21, 2016
5:30 - 7:30 pm
Tangeman University Center  RM 400ABC

Cecilia Peck, whose inspiration comes from her father, legendary actor Gregory Peck, focuses on creating films that raise important social issues. She most recently directed and produced the feature-length documentary “Shut Up & Sing”, which chronicles the political backlash against and artistic triumph of the Dixie Chicks following their criticism of President Bush just prior to the invasion of Iraq. The film, shortlisted for the 2007 Academy Awards, was awarded Best Documentary by the Boston Society of Film Critics and the San Diego Film Critics. It won Best Documentary at the Sydney, Aspen, and Woodstock Film Festivals, and Jury Prize at the Toronto and the Chicago Film Festivals. It received the Courage in Film Award from the Women Film Critics Circle, the Wyatt Award from the Southeastern Film Critics Circle, and was nominated for a Broadcast Critics Award and a National Film Critics Award.


Cecilia produced and directed Justice For All, an examination of the capital punishment system, which was awarded the Silver Gavel Award. She produced A Conversation with Gregory Peck, an intimate portrait of her legendary father, which a Special Selection in the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, as well as a special presentation for TCM and PBS American Masters. She also produced Once Upon A Time in the Hamptons, a four hour documentary series for ABC primetime. She was Associate Producer on Defending Our Daughters, a non-fiction film about women’s human rights for Lifetime Television, which was honored with the Voices of Courage Award by the Women’s Refugee Committee.


As an actress, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance in “The Portrait”. She portrayed a Palestinian school teacher in love with an Israeli soldier in “Torn Apart.” She also studied dance with Martha Graham and performed in “American Document,” the last ballet choreographed by Miss Graham. She has been contributing editor at Premiere Magazine, French edition, and Moving Pictures Magazine, and has served on the jury at the Aspen Shortsfest and Cognac Film Festival. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles.

 Questions or for disability accommodations,

Email or call 513-766-3303

Jewish Family Service receives additional funding from Verizon HopeLine to help combat domestic violence and sexual assault by providing prevention education, raising awareness in the community, and offering resources to survivors and advocates seeking support.