Although Hawaii boasts many distinctions from the rest of the United States – and indeed, the rest of the world – there is one universal thing that claims no native origin, no primary culture or indigenous source on this planet: domestic violence.
What’s been utterly fascinating to me in dealing with domestic violence is the exact replication of dynamics, behavioral manifestations and reactions regardless of culture, status, religion, age or upbringing. No matter where you go on this planet, if you come across a DV situation you’ll come across a phenomena that follows predictable patterns and is encased in a silence that allows this problem to be maintained, thus ensuring its legacy into the next generation.
(For all you Star Trek fans, you’ll get a kick out of who I’m going to talk about after that last sentence.)
The attached You Tube video was forwarded to me by a colleague and though I’m not a fan of British actor, Patrick Stewart per se, I was absolutely spellbound by it because one of the most fluidly eloquent speakers – if not one of the most recognizable voices of our era – stammered and sputtered and had the most difficult time talking about the domestic violence he witnessed between his parents as a child. As striking and as surprising as Mr. Stewart’s delivery was the thick sound of silence that surrounded him. Halfway through the video, I was wondering if this were a rehearsal or a practice shoot because you’d NEVER know he was in a room with another living soul until the room explodes in applause at the very end.
This decorated actor, whose performed before thousands, is visibly struggling to describe events from his childhood that took place over 60 years ago in 1945 and while far from a public nervous breakdown, the long-term effects of domestic violence on Mr. Stewart are clearly visible.
Rather then go on about something you can see for yourselves, please pay particular attention to Mr. Stewart’s perceptions of his situation as a child: the silence and distance from those who knew about the abuse, the lack of understanding about DV by the police officers, Mr. Stewart’s feelings of helplessness and responsibility, and his hindsight analysis of what he would have done had he had the opportunity or chance.
Mr. Stewart makes it clear that children are significantly affected by the domestic violence they experience in the home, even if they don’t see it with their own eyes, and also makes it clear that neither the victim or the child has the power or ability to stop the abuse from recurring – that folks is up to the rest of us.
Until we choose to tune in to domestic violence instead of tuning it out (like Mr. Stewart’s neighbors) and come to the realization that domestic violence is indeed a problem for us ALL, we’ll just have to hope and pray that all the children exposed to domestic violence will turn out as well as Mr. Stewart did (although he alludes to how tangibly and frighteningly close he’s come to continuing the legacy that was given to him as a child).
Thank you for your courage in speaking out, Mr. Stewart, and congratulations in breaking the trans-generational cycle of abuse in your own life.