Monday, August 6, 2012

Patrick Stewart...Speaking out for the Next Generation

Actor Patrick Stewart, provided one of the most compelling examples of leadership I’ve ever seen. But it wasn’t on the bridge of the Enterprise as Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard, nor was it playing Macbeth on Broadway.  Instead it was simply Patrick, the man, engaging in a conversation, dressed in a black sweater and button down shirt, speaking about his childhood and being raised in a home where he felt frightened and helpless as he watched his mother repeatedly brutalized.

“I needed someone else to take over
and tell me everything was going to be all right and that it wasn't my fault. 

“ I felt responsible.
The sense of guilt and loneliness provoked by domestic violence is tainting – and lasting.”

What resonates with me most, is that he speaks without anger or drama, but he still carries the memories  and the scars of a seven year old watching his mother being abused day after day. More than 6 decades have passed since he was that frightened child. The anger has burned to cool embers, but it is clear that being a witness to his mother’s abuse had a lifelong impact on him and his relationships.
I also think of  the courage of that small boy who stepped in between his father’s fist and his mother to protect her, a child stepping between a military man, a regimental sergeant, and a terrified woman to protect her. He speaks about how everyone knew, but whether from shame, or embarrassment or the sense that it’s a private matter, no one intervenedNo one came to help. No adult stepped in and took charge. Today we’re much more sensitive to these issues, but not sensitive enough. Still these things are hushed up… still the violence is allowed to continue.
I applaud Patrick Stewart for speaking out, for telling his intensely personal story so that others may also find their voice. Because no child should bear witness to such abuse… and only when each of us speaks up, will we as a community value home as a safe place for every child.  Silence hides violence… if you too find Patrick Stewart’s words moving please forward them to someone you know. Speak out about relationship abuse… so we can end it…
“Still the Violence is Allowed to Continue”

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