This short film recreates the experience of Sylvie, a battered woman who seeks shelter in a Montréal transition house. Faced with the threat of violence, loneliness, the lack of financial resources or information about services, the victim is often understandably reluctant to seek help. Emphasizing the importance for women of speaking out, the film also points out the role of the transition house in putting victims of abuse in touch with appropriate legal and social services. Sylvie’s Story is part of The Next Step, a 3-film series about the services needed by and available to battered women.
The short documentary looks at some innovative approaches to providing services and accommodation for battered women in rural, northern, and Native communities. Filmed in Thompson and Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, and West Bay Reserve, Ontario, the film introduces the women who operate and use various types of accommodation such as transition houses, transition apartments, and safe houses. The shelter on West Bay Reserve is singled out as a project that was built by women for women to stand as a reminder that the Reserve will not tolerate violence against women. A Safe Distance is part of the The Next Step, a 3-film series about the services needed by and available to battered women.
This short documentary looks at how the community of London, Ontario, has implemented a plan to address the issue of domestic violence. These efforts, spearheaded by police, lawyers, doctors, transition house staff, women's groups, and social services agencies have turned London into a rare model community. There, The London Battered Women's Advocacy Clinic and "Changing Ways," a therapy program for men who batter, contribute to the city's innovative attempt to break the cycle of violence. Moving On is part of the The Next Step, a 3-film series about the services needed by and available to battered women.
Illuminating a new paradigm for domestic-violence prevention, A Better Man offers a fresh and nuanced look at the healing and revelation that can happen for everyone involved when men take responsibility for their abuse. It also empowers audience members to play new roles in challenging domestic violence, whether it’s in their own relationships or as part of a broader movement for social change.
To Learn more about A Better Man and access additional resources, visit A Better Man project
Acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh brings us a compelling documentary that puts a human face on a national tragedy – the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The film takes a journey into the heart of Indigenous women's experience, from Vancouver's skid row, down the Highway of Tears in northern BC, and on to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of these women remain unsolved.
In Crown Prince, Frank Robinson abuses his wife verbally and batters her physically, with frightening consequences not only for her, but also for their sons, Billy and Freddy. A thought-provoking drama, this film explores the complex problems teenagers face in dealing with domestic violence, and shows how one family begins the healing process.
This short documentary offers an Indigenous perspective on the devastating experience of searching for a loved one who has disappeared. Volunteer activist Kyle Kematch and award-winning writer Katherena Vermette have both survived this heartbreak and share their histories with each other and the audience. While their stories are different, they both exemplify the beauty, grace, resilience, and activism born out of the need to do something.
One year after the tragedy that took the lives of fourteen female students, Montreal’s École Polytechnique has returned to something resembling normalcy. Nathalie Provost is a survivor of the shooting at the engineering school. Today, with friends, she opens up. About the tragedy, about feminism. About racism and sexism. About the fact that society has difficulty accepting difference. And, above all, about life, which must go on beyond December 6.
Into the Light features the liberating life stories and powerful words of inspiring Quebec women of African origin who’ve regained control over their lives after suffering from domestic violence. The film transcends prejudice and breaks the silence, pulling back the curtain on a poorly understood, hidden world, while testifying to the tremendous power that comes from overcoming isolation and accepting one’s self. It’s a luminous dive into the quest for personal healing and universal humanity. This is Togo-born director Gentille M. Assih’s third documentary.
Consult the mini-lesson to find activities designed to help teachers lead discussions in the classroom.
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This short documentary tells the intensely personal story of Namrata Gill – one of the many real-life inspirations for Deepa Mehta’s Heaven on Earth – in her own words. After six years, Gill courageously leaves an abusive relationship and launches a surprising new career.
This animated short is a lyrical exploration of the impact of war on women, their bodies and their families. Bringing a feminist sensibility to a contemporary issue, it looks at what happens when war insinuates itself inside the very being of a woman—she who once gave life.
Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army kidnapped Evelyn Amony when she was just 12 years old. Kony raped her, and took her as one of his wives. Eventually, Evelyn escaped. Stronghearted tells the first pivotal part of Evelyn’s story as she remembers it years later: the moment she comes face to face with Kony himself. The child regards this man—her kidnapper, her abuser. Facing impossible circumstances, Evelyn begins to wonder: Could he hold the key to her survival?
For more, listen to To Have & To Hold: Evelyn Amony's Story on CBC's The Current.
Ages 16 to 18
Study Guide - Guide 1
Family Studies/Home Economics - Family Diversity and Challenges
Family Studies/Home Economics - Feminism
Health/Personal Development - Healthy Relationships
Health/Personal Development - Mental Health/Stress/Suicide
Warning (if any): Descriptions of domestic violence (referred to as “battered women”), suicide
Brief “lesson launcher type” activity or a series of inquiry questions with a bit of context:
Film describing services available to women experiencing domestic violence in 1986 in the Montreal area.
What is the role of police when it comes to domestic violence cases? How has it changed over the years? What should it be in an ideal world?
Women are assaulted an average of three times before a neighbour will do anything, since people are often afraid of reporting a crime and may feel that it will not ultimately help the victim or stop the perpetrator. What should be done to change public perception?
How do the patriarchal values in our society affect the rates of domestic violence? Have domestic violence statistics changed from 1986 to now? What other factors might affect how likely women are to seek help?
Does domestic violence only affect women and children? How have roles evolved?
We no longer use the phrase “battered women”; why is this? How does the changing of language help contribute to the changing perception of domestic violence?