November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Gender-based violence comes in many forms—it can be physical, emotional, or psychological. As of today, one in three women will be victims of physical or sexual violence committed by an intimate partner in their lifetime. In 2017, one in two women killed worldwide were killed at the hands of their partners or family.
These numbers are horrifying. We need to do better. This selection of films is designed to inform and educate viewers about gender-based violence, specifically the issues of relationship-based violence, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and the “comfort women” forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. These films explore the how and why, and look towards possible solutions.
Kids Help Phone
General distress hotline for children and youth, including those who may be experiencing or using violence.
Assaulted Women’s Helpline
Toll-free support hotline for women who have experienced gender-based violence.
Talk 4 Healing
Service languages: Ojibway, Oji-Cree, Cree, English, French
Provides 24/7 culturally sensitive counselling, advice and support to Indigenous women.
Directory of emergency and transitional shelter and housing services across Canada for women experiencing gender-based violence.
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
A conservative Indo-Canadian family in small-town British Columbia must come to terms with a devastating secret: three sisters were sexually abused by an older relative beginning in their childhood years. After remaining silent for nearly two and a half decades, the sisters finally decide to come forward—not only to protect other young relatives, but to set an example for their daughters as well.
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.
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.
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.
As part of the Young Women's National Leadership Summit, the YWCA and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) invited participants aged 17+ from across North America to take part in a conversation with three outstanding role models and leaders in the fight for women's rights. Focusing on the subject of gender-based violence, the panellists discussed the issues that women are facing today, and how we can work together to create a fairer and safer society for all.
This feature documentary tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever.
A Love That Kills is a powerful documentary that tells the tragic story of Monica, a nineteen-year-old woman who was murdered by her former boyfriend. Monica's mother speaks passionately throughout the video, bravely telling viewers about her daughter's life and tragic death. She describes the helplessness she felt watching the emotional and economic abuse. She later discovered that physical battering was also part of the violence that Monica endured. In a parallel conversation, young people list the symptoms of partner abuse from male and female points of view. A Love That Kills helps to identify the warning signs of partner abuse, especially in young people, and the damage it causes emotionally and physically.
This documentary features Black women active in politics as well as community, labour and feminist organizing. They share their insights and personal testimonies on the double legacy of racism and sexism, linking their personal struggles with the ongoing battle to end systemic discrimination and violence against women and people of colour.
The Apology follows the personal journeys of three former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Some 70 years after their imprisonment in so-called “comfort stations', the three “grandmothers”– Grandma Gil in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Grandma Adela in the Philippines – face their twilight years in fading health. After decades of living in silence and shame about their past, they know that time is running out to give a first-hand account of the truth and ensure that this horrific chapter of history is not forgotten. Whether they are seeking a formal apology from the Japanese government or summoning the courage to finally share their secret with loved ones, their resolve moves them forward as they seize this last chance to set future generations on a course for reconciliation, healing, and justice.
December 6, 1989. Sylvie Gagnon was attending her last day of classes at the University of Montreal's École Polytechnique, when Marc Lépine entered the building. Separating the women from the men, he opened fire on the women students, yelling 'You're all a bunch of feminists.' Sylvie survived, while fourteen other women were murdered. This video makes the connection between the massacre and male violence against women, setting the stage for an exploration of misogyny and sexism.
Feminism has shaped the society we live in. But just how far has it brought us, and how relevant is it today? This feature documentary zeroes in on key concerns such as violence against women, access to abortion, and universal childcare, asking how much progress we have truly made on these issues. Rich with archival material and startling contemporary stories, Status Quo? uncovers answers that are provocative and at times shocking.