A dear friend of mine sent me a link to a video clip of Mr. Stewart responding to a question a fan had asked him. I’ll let you watch the clip for the details, but the question was generally about his vocal participation in standing up against violence against women—particularly domestic violence.
First, it is always very warming to me when men stand up for this cause. It is also very important. His support for the cause stems from his own childhood experience.
What moved me more and really caught my attention was that for the first time, I heard link two things I’ve voiced on several occasions—domestic violence and mental illness/deficiency. And not just looking at the victim’s trauma and injuries, but also at what psychological issues that may be at the root of an abuser’s actions. Mr. Stewart learned that his father had PTSD, which explains his father’s behavior. Of course, this is no excuse for the violence, but it raises an important issue.
I’ve always believed that those who are prone to violence in an abusive manner or some kind of outrageous manner are suffering mentally in some way—whether it’s PTSD, or a disease like schizophrenia.
The scary and sad part is that like Mr. Stewart’s father’s condition went undiagnosed, there are others who suffer from serious mental illnesses who also go undiagnosed. I used to know someone who became extremely abusive, and later found out that he was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia. It all made sense afterwards. But it makes you wonder—how do we as a society take care of the ill and protect our communities? That person’s schizophrenia didn’t even kick in until he was 22, although I’m sure there were some signs throughout his childhood.
I think as a society, we need to pay more attention to mental health—learn more, educate ourselves, and figure out how to better deal with mental health. In working in the Children’s Rights Clinic at my law school last semester, I realized just how important it is to pay attention to our children’s behavior. It’s easy to spot the ones who act out, but what about the ones who go quiet? A little girl who behaves much too mature for her age doesn’t behave that way for no reason.
I’ve heard people ask questions, but not many people actually doing anything when something really needs to be done. It’s like bystander syndrome, but at a higher cost than we realize.
Do watch this video clip. Mr. Stewart is an incredibly powerful and inspiring speaker. He’s an incredible human being.
BIG LOVE & HUGS