1. In May 2013 Star Trek fan Heather Skye got the chance to ask Sir Patrick Stewart a question during a Q&A at Comicpalooza in Houston, Texas.
She told the British actor a speech he’d given to Amnesty International about domestic violence had allowed her to get over her own abusive relationship and thanked him for his powerful words.
2. Stewart’s passionate response about his work with the charity Refuge and his views on preventing violence against women went viral, receiving coverage around the world.
3. Skye revealed afterwards that Stewart had told her: “You never have to go through that again, you’re safe now.”
And writing on her Tumblr account at the time, Skye said she had countless people thanking her for sharing her story.
“Many said they went through similar things. You are not alone,” she added.
4. Speaking to BuzzFeed a year later, the 21-year-old from Houston says the hundreds of messages and support she had received after the video went viral helped her “gain a voice” again.
“I had only worked out what had happened to me was abuse a few months beforehand. I was still working out,” she said.
The video, which has now been watched close to five million times, continues to generate a reaction and the Skye said she still receives messages on a weekly basis.
“Without that video I wouldn’t have started figuring what happened to me and got the help I needed to recover from it,” the college student revealed.
She said her acceptance had led to a renewed confidence, which had led to her education on the issue and ultimately her own voice.
5. Skye said immediately after the Q&A had finished people were coming up to her and thanking her. She added:
Seeing it in person I realised I needed to continue the message going out.
People were saying I was brave, I didn’t feel like it. No it was the other way round – ‘you’re brave for coming up to me and saying: “I’ve had a similar experience”’.
6. Skye said she had been in a lucky situation as people in the past had spoken out against their abuse and been ignored.
She said she received messages from people asking for direction for their own situations so she put up a list of resources on her blog page.
Also she had people getting in touch asking what they could do to keep pushing the message in the video forward.
7. “I told them you need to keep talking about it, just having the discussion. What domestic violence is and why it is so abundant in society,” she added.
She referenced the work Refuge is doing in highlighting domestic abuse and its calls for a public inquiry in the UK into the response of the police and state agencies to domestic violence.
The petition is hoping to reach 100,000 signatures so that it can be discussed in Parliament.
8. In terms of her own recovery, Skye said she was still in the early stages having only just realised she had a voice.
“I thought silence was my only friend,” she revealed.
She said she eventually wanted to volunteer and go into shelters to help victims of abuse.
“The biggest thing I learned from recovery from abuse and trauma is self care, is knowing when you were ready for something,” she said.
9. The success of the video though continues to astound her.
“I went to a concert recently with 10,000 people and that was massive and it’s not even a fraction [of the five million views the video has received],” she said.
“It’s like counting stars, just too many.”
Skye said she hadn’t spoken to Sir Patrick since the convention last year but was eternally grateful to him.