“Brave Miss World”, the acclaimed documentary about Abargil, who was brutally raped weeks before winning the title, is now streaming on Netflix.
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In November 1998, Miss Israel Linor Abargil was crowned Miss World. At the time, it was yet publicly-unknown that the proud new holder of the title had been abducted and brutally raped at knife-point only seven weeks earlier – while barely managing to convince her attacker, after the horrific, hours-long ordeal, not to kill her.
“Brave Miss World”, a new documentary by filmmakers Cecilia Peck and Inbal B. Lessner, follows the story of a rape victim who chose to speak up, take a stand, help others and turn her experience into a positive.
The film, which is now streaming on Netflix, is in consideration in multiple Emmy categories, according to the Huffington Post.
After winning the Miss Israel title in 1998, 18 year-old Linor Abargil flew to Milan to do modeling work. When she decided to go back home, she asked her modeling agency if they could help her get a plane ticket back to Israel.
“They introduced me to a Hebrew speaking travel agent they’d been working with for years who had a family in Israel”, she recently recounted to The Daily Beast.”They said I could trust him. He looked like a nice, professional man.”
The man, Uri Shlomo Nur, told the young model he had secured her a ticket on a flight from Rome, and said he’d take her to the airport in his car. “It never crossed my mind that this nice man would harm me”, she says. “Later, I realized this act was carefully planned and I wasn’t the first who would be harmed by him.”
In an hours-long, horrifying and brutal ordeal, Abargil found herself being tied up, stabbed, strangled and repeatedly raped by Nur. He eventually agreed to let her go after she decided to try and get through to him, and asked him about his family.
Abargil notified the authorities and Nur was captured when he made a trip to Israel. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison. His victim, who soon after won the title of Miss World, was scarred for life – scarred, but most certainly not defeated.
“Brave Miss World” follows Abargil on her journey to speak out about sexual assault, to encourage others to do so as well, and to dispel the shame around coming forward with one’s rape story.
Director Cecilia Peck – daughter of legendary actor Gregory Peck – follows Abargil as she speaks with teens in South Africa, visits campuses in the U.S. and returns to Italy for the first time since her attack.
“When she was 18 and had spoken out after her trial in Israel, she said to all the women in Israel, ‘If I can do this, you can too, and if something happened don’t be afraid to report it'”, Peck told Jezebel.com. “The incidence of reports rose dramatically that year and also several laws were changed as a result of what she did.” Abargil agreed to do the 5-years-in-the-making documentary in order to “see if she could accomplish that on a bigger scale”, Peck adds.
After managing to delay her rapist’s parole, Linor Abargil went on to graduate from law school and start working at the District Attorney’s office — the same building she went as a victim on her search for justice — in order to advocate for rape survivors. Today, she is a well-known, outspoken global advocate in the fight against sexual violence.
“Linor’s story is a hero’s journey, ” says Peck. “It’s a wounded one, but a triumphant, courageous one.”