Why Star Wars is Important To Me As An Abuse Survivor

By Derek Newman-Stille

I am a child abuse survivor. My biological father beat me throughout my life until my mother, sister, and I were able to escape when I was 15. This may not seem to be related to Star Wars… but it is.

As a child, I read about abuse to try to understand what was happening to me. All of the work that I read suggested that there was a cycle of abuse and that I would inevitably become abusive, just like my biological father.

Star Wars deals with cycles. It is a story about cycles and about breaking cycles and resisting inevitability. This mattered to me as a child, as a youth, and still matters to me. Star Wars offered a glimpse at the potential to break a cycle. It offered a glimpse into possibilities of redemption and resistance. It showed an evil father figure who was able to be redeemed and resist hatred. It showed a son figure who was able to resist becoming what his father was, a son who was able to push back against anger and hatred and become his own person, become something good instead of succumbing to the inevitability of hatred.

Science fiction doesn’t just exist as entertainment and escape. It exists as a way of teaching us lessons through stories. When we think that a future is inevitable, science fiction offers the reminder that the future is a story being told, that it is flexible, and that it is changeable. Science Fiction offers the idea that there are multiple futures out there and that the future can be written, unwritten, and rewritten.

It’s why Sci Fi has been so important to me. It offered a way out. A possibility for a future that wasn’t inevitable, but instead could be changed. This is an important message for someone who is being abused, and an essential reminder for those who are continuing to deal with the repercussions of being abused.


Written by Derek Newman-Stille, MA, PhD ABD

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