Monday, April 20, 2009

Student discussion with Linor Abargil

by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

This year's Take Back the Night has an amazing speaker: Linor Abargil, a former Miss World contestant from Israel who was brutally raped 2 months before she was crowned Miss World. A documentary crew, headed by a Princeton alum, will be conducting student discussions with Linor before and after TBTN, focusing on the struggle to convince rape victims to break their silence. Linor has used her spotlight to inspire women to speak out about their traumas, and helped foster a crucial conversation about sexual assault that is, sadly, rarely held. In light of the events this past weekend, I think it's especially important to have open conversations about sexual assault, and I am very excited that Linor is coming to Princeton. I'll be attending the discussions, and I strongly encourage you to attend as well - this is an issue which affects all of us, and one which needs to be discussed as openly as possible.

Linor has some very moving words about her hopes for the documentary:

"Figures indicate that 80% of rapes are unreported. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of support from a rape victim’s family and friends. I know from experience how alienating it can be. The people closest to a rape victim treat them differently when she needs them the most.

The film is based on my personal story, but also on the reality of the rape of women throughout the world. I will try, during the film, to share how I coped with my 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 your silence.

Most significantly, throughout the film, I hope to meet other women who have been raped, those who have spoken but also those who have stayed silent to this very day. I will share my experience, and in doing so try to give others the courage to break their silence. Together we can try to understand what happened to our lives after that trauma, how the course of our lives changed, the self accusation and the fears, and how we can rise up, rehabilitate and take care for ourselves."

Linor will be meeting with students for a group discussion on Thursday, April 23rd from 5:30 - 6:30 pm in the Albert Einstein room at the Nassau Inn. She will also be at the Nassau Inn after Take Back the Night, from approximately 9 - 10 pm, to answer any follow up questions from her speech and to meet with students informally. Whoever is interested in attending or joining in the discussion is welcome at either time. The website for the documentary on Linor is www.linordocumentary.com.

Again, I hope to see you there. Take Back the Night is about breaking these silences.

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