Speaking at Comicpalooza in Texas last weekend, actor Patrick Stewart gave an impassioned response to a question about domestic violence. The emotional reaction, captured on tape above, shows the Star Trek and X-Men actor responding to a woman who thanked him for a speech he gave in 2009 about violence towards women. “The people who could do most to improve the situation of so many women and children are in fact, men,” Stewart said to an enthusiastic crowd of fans.
The actor, best known for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, grew up with an abusive father. That experience later influenced him to speak out against domestic violence. Holding back tears Stewart said, “I do what I do in my mother’s name because I couldn’t help her then. Now I can.”
Stewart explained that his father suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from his experiences in WWII. “Now we know what it is and we know how to deal with it. In 1940 it was just shell-shock and basically soldiers were being told ‘pull yourself together.’” And while he now recognizes the issues his father had, he does not accept that as an excuse for the abuse his mother suffered.
As a child a child I heard in my home–doctors and ambulance men say–‘Mrs. Stewart, you must have done something to provoke him. Mrs. Stewart, it takes two to make an argument.’ Wrong. Wrong! My mother did nothing to provoke that, and even if she had–violence is never ever a choice that a man should make!
The audience stood and applauded. The woman who had prompted the remarks wrote on her blog:
“Sir Patrick didn’t even hesitate, he smiled, hopped off the stage and came over to embrace me in a hug. … He held me there for a long while. He told me ‘You never have to go through that again, you’re safe now.’ I couldn’t stop thanking him. His embrace was so warm and genuine. It was two people, two strangers, supporting and giving love. And when we pulled away he looked straight in my eyes, like he was promising that. He told me to take care. And I will.”