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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

‘Brave Miss World’ follows one woman’s powerful mission of rape survivor advocacy

Linor+Abargil
Linor Abargil

Cecilia Peck’s compelling documentary “Brave Miss World” follows former Miss World winner and rape survivor Linor Abargil as she embarks on a mission to bring attention to the issues of rape and survivor justice. Her journey is one of steadfast activism and healing. Viewers watch as Abargil selflessly uses her international platform and the story of her own painful past to bring awareness to this serious social illness.
The film opens in Milan, Italy with Abargil recalling the unsettling details of her rape. Throughout the film the audience pieces together the events surrounding that tragic night. Over the course of the film we learn that at the age of 18, Abargil was crowned Miss Israel 1998. Later that year Abargil travelled to Milan, Italy to pursue a career in modeling. Homesick and eager to return to Israel, she began planning her trip home. In doing so, her agency put her in contact with Uri Schlomo Nur, an Israeli travel agent working in Milan.
Nur ended up kidnapping Abargil, driving her to a secluded area where he stabbed and raped her. Fortunately, she was able to escape and report the rape. Seven weeks later she participated in the renowned Miss World contest and won the ultimate crown. Determined to make a difference, Abargil has since dedicated her life to rape survivor advocacy.
As part of her work, Abargil travels the globe to meet with rape survivors from all walks of life, including child survivors of sexual abuse at the Teddy Bear Clinic in South Africa, high-profile celebrity survivors in Los Angeles, and American college students. As she meets with each survivor, she offers her support and encourages survivors to find their voices. With undeniable strength, survivors share harrowing accounts of their rapes. Though their stories are disconcerting, their inclusion is of absolute importance as they give voice to a silenced issue.
As the film progress and Abargil hears these stories, memories of her own painful past resurfaces. Though she begins to re-experience symptoms of her trauma, Abargil pushes forward with the project with steadfast resolve. Viewers watch as Abargil works through her own challenges including her rapist’s impending parole hearing, with the help of her close and loving social network. With their support she is able to experience her own transformative healing.
The film follows a relatively linear progression that allows the story to build naturally and serve to emphasize Abargil’s journey as one of observable growth. The documentary’s main storyline is supported by historical footage, which is integrated to create a backstory, and serves to create a cinematic flashback effect. While some of the footage is unsettling, it is necessary. Honest and direct, the film does not shy away from even the most disturbing details of its subject matter in an effort to communicate the gravity of rape. 
“Brave Miss World” is a great demonstration of how individuals can turn tragedy into positive action. The film serves as a testament to the resilience and fortitude of the human spirit. The epitome of grace and strength, Linor Abargil is a true human rights hero. Her spirit of activism and thirst for justice are to be emulated. Audiences are sure to leave this film with both an action-provoking fury as well as an enlightened hopefulness.
The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies will be hosting a screening of “Brave Miss World” on April 29 at 6 p.m. in the Snowden Auditorium.