Upworthy shared this video with me on facebook this morning, and I just wanted to pass it along with a note. Patrick Stewart AKA Jean-luc Picard, Captain of the Starship Enterprise, is obviously a favorite actor. But I didn’t realize that he was also an ardent advocate for victims of domestic violence and veterans returning with PTSD.
There are so many things worth noting about this 7 minute response to a fan’s question. He points out that men are the best people to fight violence against women. He says that violence is never a solution that a man is justified using in an argument. Great! But what I was struck by even more was that 1) he became an advocate after growing up in a household where his father beat his mother, apparently. And 2) he found out after many years that his father suffered from PTSD from being a war veteran.
These two things struck me because often those children who grow up in the most violent situations–the ones who survive and thrive afterwards, at least–end up being the most passionate and compassionate adults. And the ones best poised to help the next generation from making the same mistakes. I was brought to tears hearing about the work that he does. But on top of that, to realize after so many years that his father wasn’t violent simply because he was an evil monster, but because he was a severely scarred individual himself, and to be equally passionate about helping these men as the women they damage.
I guess what that says to me is that passion and advocacy can only take you so far. Violence is complex. The people who perpetrate violence are hurt individuals. The people who sustain violence are hurt individuals. Abusive people are hurt individuals, their victims are hurt individuals. In order to stop this cycle, perhaps, like Stewart, we need to be aware of everyone’s hurt, not just the obvious one.