At the end of May, a woman posted a video of Patrick Stewart, an actor best known for his role on Star Trek, speaking at Comicpalooza. I don’t know about Comic-con or Comicpalooza or any of these sorts of conventions except what I learn on Big Bang Theory.
However, almost 4 million people have watched it in the roughly 6 weeks since.
He struck a nerve…
There are two things he says, that marry the struggle that those of us who work with domestic violence and the tension that is inherent in the reality of domestic violence.
One side of the tension is elementary, obviously simple in it’s most basic and clear message: Violence is NOT acceptable between a couple. Full stop.
And Patrick Stewart says thusly:
The other side of the tension is that while violence is not acceptable, it is almost always understandable. Domestic violence comes out of being trained as that being a solution when a men is pushed to extremes…and his ability to make the best decisions is impaired.
It doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Patrick Stewart has only just found out that his father had significant PTSD post World War 2. It wasn’t recognized, and it certainly wasn’t treated. His body reacted to tension in a manner that was more typical of a war zone than a marriage.
But the thing about PTSD triggers, is that they are memories that don’t know they are memories. They don’t act like memories, and when the triggers feel like the danger is happening right now…well, that shapes the outcome in huge, potentially catastrophic ways.
So, Patrick has developed compassion for battered women, and actively supports the British charity that advocates for safety for women.
And Patrick has developed compassion for battering men who are veterans that struggle with post combat PTSD that negatively impact their relationships.
I love how Patrick Stewart has embraced the tension, and is working actively on both sides of the struggle against Domestic Violence.
I like to think that we at Bergen and Associates Counselling similarly embrace the tension and actively work with both those hurt in intimate partner violence, as well as those that are doing the hurting. The Intimate Partner Violence Turning Destructive into Constructive (TDC-IPV) program works with offenders, as well as their partners as it makes sense and those that have been hurt are willing.