Sir Patrick Stewart has spoke out about his own experiences with domestic abuse, in the hope of raising awareness and that it’ll encourage people to seek help.
While appearing on today’s Loose Women, Sir Pat, 77, revealed how acting was his form of escapism from his nightmare home life as a child.
‘I had a reason to be out of the house in the evenings when often problems would occur,’ he recalled of the time he was growing up.
‘Unlike my time, there is aid available now. There are 24-hour helplines. Women’s Aid is one of the organisations that has a helpline. Call the helpline, you need not be alone.’
He described how his father, who was a military veteran, was suffering from PTSD – or commonly referred to as ‘shell shock’ – back in the day. As a result, the entire household suffered from the impact of domestic abuse.
‘My brother and I lived with my mother and her sister across the road, we were treated so well,’ he said. ‘Suddenly there was this big, hairy man in the house. Increasingly things became more and more difficult.’
He added: ‘What I only learned about a few years ago was that he had suffered what the newspapers described as severe shell shock. Of course, he was never treated for it – what we now call PTSD.
‘That does not justify what he did, not remotely,’ he clarified.
‘He was a weekend alcoholic and it was partly brought about because of his transformation from Regimental Sergeant Major to basically a semi-skilled labourer with no authority at all. I realise now [this] must have been very painful for him. He was also suffering from this condition [PTSD].’
Sir Patrick remembers how his father would return from the pub, steaming drunk, and attack his defenceless mother; leaving he and his brother to physically defend her from his violence.
‘At those moments we would go in, we would just try and put our bodies between our mother and our father.’
The former Star Trek actor admitted that, as a child, he didn’t tell anyone or try to get help – but as an adult he urged anyone in his prior position to have the strength to speak out against it.
‘One of the problems of domestic violence is that shame attached to it – for everybody, for the victim and the abuser and the children, too.’
As a patron of Refuge, Sir Patrick revealed he was pleased at the government’s progress at helping vulnerable victims.