British actor Sir Patrick Stewart has spoken passionately about domestic violence and claims that his support for women’s charity Refuge is one of his proudest achievements.
Stewart was being interviewed at an event in Houston called Comicpalooza, designed for fans of science fiction and gaming when he made the comments. He was asked during a Q&A of which aspect of his career he is most proud, and in response he spoke cogently about his work for Refuge.
A young woman in the audience named Heather Skye, who had herself been a victim of violence at the hands of a partner, took the opportunity to thank Stewart for his support of abused women and the role he has played in raising awareness of the issue.
Stewart, best known in the acting world for playing the role of Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek franchise, has been a vocal activist for women’s rights and in particular for the quest to end violence against women.
In 2006 he made a video for Amnesty International in which he denounced domestic violence and spoke about his own experiences with it as a child. Stewart’s father was a World War II veteran who suffered from Post-traumatic stress disorder and who physically abused his mother on a regular basis.
In the Houston interview, Stewart spoke out in particular against the social practice of victim-blaming: “As 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.”
Stewart, who is also known as a respected and critically acclaimed Shakespearean actor, has been a patron of Refuge since 2007 and has also begun working with Combat Stress, a charity that helps ex-servicemen and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.