A Better Man: Strengths-based Approaches

The White Ribbon team was honoured to be able to attend both the world premiere and the second screening of A Better Man, a documentary following  Co-Director Attiya Khan’s journey towards restorative justice, as she meets her abuser Steve, 23 years later.

As a two-part blog post, Senior Fundraising Manger Aine McGlynn and Communications Manager Clay Jones share their thoughts. [Part 1]

Tod Augusta-Scott of the Bridges Institute is a domestic violence counselor and researcher. He plays a critical role in the film mediating some of the exchanges between Attiya and Steve. We also see him working one-on-one with Steve, trying to uncover some of the repercussions he feels for having chosen violence in his relationship with Attiya. He is gently insistent that Steve name his actions so that Attiya’s can feel that her story is validated.

Q&A with Co-Directors Lawrence Jackman and Attiya Khan, and Tod Augusta-Scott.

During the Question and Answer period, after the Monday screening of A Better Man, Augusta-Scott, discussed how, when working with abusive men he first digs into the core of their ethics. What kind of relationship do they want? What kind of father do they want to be? Doing so allows him, and them, to tap into their own empathy as a tool to unpack their use of violence, control, and power. This is groundbreaking work with abusive men. It mirrors a core value in the way we present our work at White Ribbon. We focus on the positive, healthy, strength-based nature of male-identified people to empower them to promote gender equity in their communities.

This is an approach guided by empathy and the dignity of all people – which is not to say that it comes naturally or easily.

We watch Attiya struggle with her own empathy towards Steve. But we also see her reap the rewards of her own healing.

  • Clay Jones, Communications Manager.

Further reading:
In a story of survival, a different way to understand domestic abuse. – Maclean’s
Truro counsellor stars in national documentary about domestic violence – Truro Daily News

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Also published on Medium.