Set Phasers on 'Hug': Sir Patrick Stewart's Kind Gesture [Video]

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Patrick Stewart hugs a fan at Comicpalooza 2013.

Any arguments over who the best "Star Trek" captain is have just been settled.

Sir Patrick Stewart has been open about the abuse he endured in his childhood for years. A talk he gave for Amnesty International in 2009 inspired a young woman to get out of terrible situation of her own. She went to Comicpalooza "full of nervous energy" to thank Stewart. "I was finally able to start my healing process and to put that part of my life behind me," she said. What she got took everyone, perhaps even Stewart himself, by surprise.

“Besides acting, what are you most proud of that you have done in you life — that you are willing to share with us?," the woman asks Stewart during the Q&A part of the event.

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Her question led Stewart to talk about how his father abused both his mother and him, starting when he was only 5 years old. His experience drove Stewart to become involved with Refuge in the U.K., which works to prevent domestic violence. He continued on, talking about his later revelation that his father suffered from PTSD (back when it was thought of as severe shell shock), which is why he now also works with Combat Stress, an organization that helps veterans with psychological wounds. Though Stewart now holds a greater understanding of his father's struggles, he emphatically maintains that "violence is never, ever a choice that a man should make."

[Related: 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' Gag Reel: Worf Messes Up His Lines, Walks Into Doors]

"They were about to move onto the next question when Sir Patrick looked at me and asked me 'My Dear, are you okay?'" the Trekkie recalls on her "LemonSweetie" blog. Stewart's warmth and candor seem to have made the event's moderator (and, we're sure, everyone else in the room) a little teary, because he asks, "Do you want a hug?" At that point, the "Star Trek" alum jumps down and embraces the young woman.

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Sci-fi, often maligned as escapist, can be a refuge for people in unpleasant situations. Occasionally, it can be much, much more. Stewart has praised Amnesty International's logo, which is a candle, and says he thinks of himself as only a match. Here's hoping other luminaries of the genre will add their match lights to his.

More sites to visit on domestic violence and PTSD:

National Domestic Violence Hotline

DCoE Outreach