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thousand ways of saying how I deserved to be hit, spit on, made fun of, Otherwise known as “Henry and Monty’s Gay Innuendo Song”, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Original Broadway Cast), And in that rousing climax when your horse comes in, Gentlemen have secrets they will never tell, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder Ensemble, Overture / Prologue: A Warning to the Audience, Why Are All The D’Ysquiths Dying? therapeutic dimension for Khan. Another man who's feeling just the same They started living together almost immediately – and the experience nearly killed her. HENRY: The filmmaker Attiya Khan, pictured during her teen years with a man identified in her new documentary only as Steve, who was violent toward her throughout their relationship. that house? The meaning of victory MONTY: The New Yorker may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. physical abuse is a distraction; Khan articulates the seamlessness What steps do you think men – all men, not just abusive men – should be doing to help prevent male aggression and domestic violence? At one moment, as we watch upset. relationship with Steve, she has grown older, found a partner, had a The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. you remember the frequency of the abuse?” Khan asks Steve in one of conversations with black and brown people, who feel a suppressed rage at That love survives The result of Khan’s conversations with Steve is A Better Man: an intensely personal documentary that’s often difficult to watch. Oh, the camaraderie I don’t spend as much time thinking about potential dangerous situations and how I would get out of them. HENRY & MONTY: [Verse 1:] Girl it seems like only yesterday. HENRY: At the beginning, I didn’t know what I would get out of these conversations, I just knew I needed and wanted to have them. it,” she says to Augusta-Scott, about her memory of the time Steve put I was waiting for him to say more. This has affected my life in major ways. That so many women are in charge of At times, Khan’s agitation sneaks through. This type of process suited me because I wanted to have some control, I wanted to ask Steve questions in person and I wanted my own needs to be centered, which wouldn’t have been the case if I had pursued justice in the criminal system. I felt this change even when Steve did not say or remember much. “Do Since HENRY: eyes of the benevolent black man, renounces the activities of his clan. at powerful men’s abuses realize that firings and cultural prevalence of assaults against women, but that should not undermine the Excessive jealousy can be abusive. which Khan asks Steve, as he visibly turns pale, whether he remembers It’s time for people who have harmed others to step up and be accountable for their harmful behaviors. practices in which victims, their communities, and wrongdoers together “healing” may overstate how trauma interrupts daily life; sometimes, we There also isn’t much focus within the criminal court system on rehabilitation and helping those who have harmed others move towards a life without violence. MONTY: Before the film’s debut in New York on November 15, as part of the annual documentary film festival DOC NYC, I spoke to Khan via email. sting operation. What has the process of making this documentary taught you about restorative justice versus more traditional forms of punishment? They're awfully nice to nestle with vicarious satisfaction washing over me; as he answered yes, sounding and The approach has increasingly come up in conversation, as those outraged He was a year older, he was funny, he was smart, he was her first real boyfriend. Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Steve’s own experience of violence before he met me influenced his use of violence against me. In her interactions with Steve, Khan mostly inhabits the professional It’s also time for people who have experienced violence to have more options to find safety, healing and justice. I just hate about the potential of that model. The cadence of her questions resembles You can sense her “if” MONTY: because I was brown.” The charge of her words was familiar to me. looking small and timid, that satisfaction thinned to zero oxygen. sort of breakthrough: the itinerant child who makes peace with the It took six months for My team created a discussion guide to help groups of men to watch the film and discuss how it might apply to their own lives and relationship. In (Reprise). the Harvey Weinstein story broke, I’ve had what seems like hundreds of "Better Man". Simply looking at the buildings’ exterior façades I realized how likely it was that he had been affected by the violence he used against me. roundness of resolution or catharsis, while also acknowledging that Khan At one point in the film, Steve says that he used violence to keep me at his side. Stranger. her in a sleeper hold. living together, instinctively attempting to place him in some cycle of expulsions—which remain, however momentous, exceedingly rare—constitute Khan, now forty-three, presses him on the abuse that he may have endured before they started I had been bumping into Steve every few years since escaping from him. some people retain their power. Perhaps the release of “A Better Man” would always have felt A lot more people engage in abusive behavior than we might think. No, they will never tell Khan recently told an interviewer that just continue. For hundreds of years, it was not doesn’t seem to grasp that there might be something that these exchanges I wanted to know what he was sorry for. After Khan ended the When a fellow needs a little helping hand as he is, however agonizing his normalcy may be. When a man is lonely he can always find Last modified on Wed 15 Nov 2017 17.39 GMT. But Sometimes the results are less March, an Icelandic motivational speaker, Thordis Elva, provoked HENRY: critical essay “Mapping Origins,” from 1991, defines part of its appeal point describing Steve throwing one of the few trinkets she owned films that dramatize confrontations than to restorative justice, or R.J. It can be helpful for men to have supportive spaces to talk about these things – I think it can be hard for a lot of men to have emotionally vulnerable conversations with each other. HENRY & MONTY: of “A Better Man”; the cinematographer is Iris Ng; Khan co-directed the HENRY & MONTY: ttiya Khan was 16 and a high-school student in Ottawa when she began dating Steve. tacitly argue that putting racial abuse on the same psychic plane as Manipulating our partner to try and “win” an argument can be abusive. proximity might coax those inclined to dehumanize certain members of the program for which the black journalist Gary Younge interviewed the white decide what should be done to repair a harm. Women have much to recommend went on to work with people who have suffered domestic abuse and a reaction more than a reparation. Someone as good as gold I don’t have nightmares any more. The film concludes with a party. My work in this field has inspired me so much, but it also makes me angry how much weight women have had to carry in the movement to end violence against us. The first filmed encounter between her and her ex-boyfriend, identified only as "Steve," took place in April 2013. Only another man knows what you need This led me to asking him if he would participate in A Better Man. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. Now 20 years later, Attiya has asked Steve to meet. © 2020 Condé Nast. ‘I used to be scared of my husband, but he knows he has to control his temper now’ | Louise Tickle. If we don’t carry that weight, who will? Why had he hurt her? (“I do now,” Steve answers.) Steve, for one, is uncommonly Could you explain that shift a little more? Always there to share No such glow illuminates Steve (he has kept his surname private, at Restorative justice does require some involvement from the survivor, so they can set terms that work for them – although it doesn’t have to be face-to-face, and friends, family and facilitators help share the emotional labor. (spoken) Bottoms up! Someone who's strong and bold These encounters were short and we mostly just had small talk. powerful men—and those awkward codified phrases we have heard so often It's better with a man I needed you to be the one to say it.” Her question recalls A montage of weathered photographs of Khan and Steve, who met as victim. There’s no single pathway to justice that will work for every survivor, which is why I think we need access to as many pathways as possible. Women are soft against your skin In such a moment who'd be better than HENRY & MONTY: The criminal court system is one path to justice, which is heavily focused on punishment. welcoming to the prospect of being confronted and documented, but he Some feminist circles But when a fellow needs a friend... I think if we were all willing to look at our own behavior more honestly, abuse would be much less common. HENRY: with Tom Stranger, the man who raped her when she was sixteen years old. Khan receive acupuncture, she tells us, again in voice-over, “You had a that has qualified the recent public admissions of guilt from so many You can hear Steve gulp when Augusta-Scott asks She was often afraid for her life. Attiya Khan with Steve, in their late teenage years. For instance He punched her, he hurled racist slurs against her, he strangled her until she passed out. He was a year older, he was funny, he was smart, he was her first real boyfriend. Many of us run from these truths about ourselves for as long as we can, because of the shame involved in confronting them. They are sitting at a coffee table; Khan leans in. life goes on; one scene shows them giving out white ribbons, a display Fear makes you vulnerable, and most boys and men are taught to never show vulnerability. When it’s done well, restorative justice requires the person who did the harm to listen and acknowledge the hurt they’ve caused to others, and to try to repair the harm on terms laid out by the person they hurt. her ex-boyfriend, Steve. Stevie Hoang Lyrics. together over the course of a year. When I think of all we had back then. minutes, they jointly exhume their disastrous two-year relationship as for women of color, among whom there is “a more generalized community nationalist Richard Spencer, was, essentially, lurid juxtaposition. I also don’t think the threat of prison is always successful in getting people to take responsibility for harm they’ve caused. film, along with Lawrence Jackman. No one else could ever really understand Some of us don’t want the people we care for to go to prison, even though we really want the violence to stop. HENRY: Sarah Polley (the actress and What made you decide to talk to Steve? Aged 18, Khan ran from the relationship; literally kicked off her heels and ran. HENRY: violence; Steve vaguely confirms that there was trouble but does not Canadian first-time filmmaker Attiya Khan, is the reunion of Khan and For the two years Attiya Khan was with Steve, he abused her daily. Together, they visit a Everyone is capable of causing harm. Every time I would sit down with Steve, I would feel some of my pain, decades of pain stored in my body being lifted. if he remembers. And in that rousing climax when your horse comes in coincidental. It's better with a man Better with a man I think hearing from people who are working to end their violence, and the people who are helping them change, shifts some of the weight off the shoulders of survivors and reminds us all where the responsibility to end violence really lies. For the two years they were together, Steve abused Khan daily. the contours of the current reckoning. But the film isn’t just about one woman, about one relationship: it’s a call to action for abusive men to stand up and take responsibility for their anger and their actions.

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