Great interview with the one & only Erin Pizzey - the founder of the world's first shelters for battered women back in the 1970s - with Dean Esmay from AVFM:
Erin: Good morning, It’s very cold.
Dean: It’s very cold is it? Well, it’s early December, I guess it is cold; you’re living in London these days, yes?
Erin: Yes I am.
Dean: So, you have recently, in the last year or so, published a book called “This Way to the Revolution – a Memoir” from Peter Owen Publishers. What can you tell me about that book, Erin?
Erin: I’ve always tried to tell the truth about the
beginnings. I was one of the first people in England to get involved
with the Women’s Movement and what I saw there, I knew perfectly well
was going to be extremely destructive. And, when I began to stand up at
these great big Collective meetings – and interestingly enough there
were a lot of women from America who came over with initial instruction
to show the British women how to be radical feminists. They’re a pretty
frightening crowd and I got screamed at a lot partly because I said many
women like myself, who are married, with or without children are
perfectly happy to have the choice to be able to stay home. So, in the
end last year actually… it took me ten years to get this book published,
it was turned down by every major publisher in this country. And,
finally, Peter Owen, who is a fine very small publishing company, agreed
that they would publish. And they’ve done a wonderful job of it. And it
is, it’s the whole truth about what went on behind the movement… the
I’m sorry, were you saying something?
Dean: So you say the feminist movement, the women’s
movement… I confess I haven’t read the entire book yet, but I’ve at
least read part of it and it’s certainly very interesting. Would you say
that you considered yourself a feminist in the very early days?
Erin: I considered myself like many women across the
world, I considered myself an equity feminist. I believed in equality
for everyone. Now there were issues that needed discussing, but as soon
as I saw, because you have to remember my background, my parents were
caught by the Communists when I was nine and I didn’t see them for three
years – they were under house arrest…
Dean: Your parents were caught by the Communists?
Erin: Yes in 1949, my father was in Tientsin in the Foreign Office…
Dean: In China?
Erin: Yes, China and they had marched up the
driveway and they were arrested. They were very lucky, my parents,
because they were just under house arrest. Most of the others were put
into prisons. And I had one very close family member who came out
completely insane from what happened to him. So, I had no love of
Communism from the very beginning. From what I saw when I was in these
great big collectives was really Marxism. We were all organized into
groups in our own homes and told that we must have consciousness-raising
sessions. And I remember the woman who came to our
consciousness-raising and when she finished, I said this has nothing to
do with women, this is actually Marxist. I said so we’re supposed to go
to work full time and put our children into care provided by the state –
like the Communist government – and why are we calling this liberation?
And so very quickly I was booted out and went off to open a community
center for mothers and children. And then I knew, once the donations
came in, once the press picked it up–because the local paper–because my
refuge by that point was full—I knew very well the sound of the feminist
boots coming down to actually hijack the entire domestic violence
industry and turn it into a billion dollar industry. Which they’ve done.
Dean: Well those are very powerful words and statements. I understand you were born in China, yes?
Dean: So you and your family were there when they turned communist.
Erin: No, I was born in China, but then my parents
were re-posted to China when I was about eleven years old. They were
reposted to Tientsin and that’s where they were incarcerated.
Dean: Oh I see. Yet, I can already hear some people
objecting. I’ve met a lot of women who consider themselves feminists in
some form or other and they look at you like you’re from Mars if you say
this business about it being Marxist in origin or…
Erin: Yes, but most of them don’t even know anything
about the beginning of this movement. And the thing I have to point
out, very simply, the beginnings of the women’s movement happened way
back when a lot of women were fighting for the rights of people, of
Americans, to end the apartheid that was going on at that time. When
they had finished marching for the civil rights movement—There’s a whole
storied history that you can read it. They came back and decided that
the leftist women wanted their own movement. So instead of it being
Capitalism, which everyone was against in the left wing movements, they
simply changed the goal posts and said it was Patriarchy. Everything was
because of men, because of the power that men have over women. And then
the second part of their argument was that all women are victims of
men’s violence because it’s The Patriarchy. And that is such a lot of
rubbish. Because, we know, and everybody in the business knows, that
both men and women in interpersonal relationships can be violent. And
that’s in every single study all across the Western world. All this time
– 40 years – we’ve been living a big lie led by these Feminist women
who essentially have created a huge billion dollar industry all across
the world and they have shut the doors on men. No men can work in
refuges; no men can sit on Boards; boys under the age of twelve often
can’t go into the refuges. A mother has to make a difficult choice of
what she should do.
Dean: Here in the U.S. I’ve at least come across a few shelters which employ men in some fashion…to act as guards at the doors or…
Erin: That’s not working in refuges; that’s standing outside.
Dean: Standing outside or picking women up and driving them places…yes.
Erin: Not as staff though; not working in the
refuge. In my refuge, half the staff are always men because they’re so
important for children who haven’t known good, kind men…and some of
Dean: I understand. That makes good sense. I see
from your memoir for example, that in the early 60’s you had to show
proof that you intended to get married just to get contraception from
Dean: Women couldn’t apply for mortgages… and so I
presume it’s that sort of thing that made you interested in the Women’s
movement in the first place.
Erin: Yes, absolutely. And I had such a vision, and
partly the refuge because–I know all about violence. Both my parents
were violent. My mother was particularly violent to me because I looked
like my father. And the other two; my twin sister and my brother were
much more like her. And my whole concern is, it is generational
violence, and if we don’t save this generation of children we simply
have more and more violent people. Because, until we understand we
cannot blame men for everything. Women have to look at themselves and be
honest about their own violence. And also, to understand what you do to
a child’s brain when you actually fight each other, scream, yell and
hit children, it causes brain damage. And we know that now from MRI
scans. They can see what it does, particularly to the frontal lobe, the
right frontal lobe, which is the seat of all our emotions.
Dean: There was a psychologist in Canada who
recently published a piece asserting that the stereotype that we seem to
all accept now of the helpless, innocent woman who is beaten on by a
brutish, thuggish man and needs to run away represents perhaps only 4 or
5 percent of all domestic violence cases and that almost all other
cases are more complicated than that. Would you agree that that sounds
Erin: Yes, of the first hundred women who came into
my refuge, sixty percent were as violent as the men they left. Or, they
were violent and the men weren’t.
Dean: They were violent and the men weren’t?
Erin: Yeah! And that’s why I tried to open a house
for men almost immediately after I opened the refuge for women and my
problem was – and this was a great shock to me – I was given a house at a
by the Council; and then I asked men who had actually given money for
my refuge for women and children (they were millionaires) to give me
some money for the men’s house, and none of them would give a penny!
Dean: I happen to know that in Canada there’s
exactly one men’s shelter and it can’t get any funding. It’s almost
impossible…it’s running on a shoestring budget. I’ll have to make sure
to let people know about it after I finish talking to you. But I see
from your memoir you actually said your first experience of wanting to
open a shelter for women was that you encountered a woman who was beaten
and bloodied and bruised. And you said you immediately flashed to your
own experience of having been beaten by your mother?
Erin: Actually no, it was worse than that. It was a
bit like Psycho. When my mother died of cancer, I was seventeen – my
twin sister and I, and my brother was fourteen – my father refused to
bury her body, and he had it in the house on the dining room table. And
we had to go and look every night, it was hot there, it was about six
days before he allowed her to be buried. This is the point though:
everyone in the village knew what was going on. The woman across the
road who was a family friend, I ran across and begged her to help me.
She didn’t. The doctor was called by my father and he came out and
examined my mother’s dead body and came out and said, “This shouldn’t be
happening to a dog.” He did nothing. So I sat there at the age of
seventeen thinking “I have asked for help, but nobody, nobody will help
three terrified children.” So when Kathy said to me – used the words,
“No one will help me…”, that’s when I knew I had to take her in and look
Dean: So you feel you were abused by both of your parents.
Erin: Yeah, all three of us were.
Dean: Oh…I’m sorry that happened to you.
Erin: No, you have to remember that’s why I know what I know and that’s why I can do what I do.
Dean: So it would be your firm opinion then that work by researchers like Murray Strauss and whatnot that…
Erin: Yeah and Richard Gelles
Dean: …that most domestic violence is…
Dean: Concensual, mutual…
Erin: One way or another. There’s no pattern for
this because each person is unique, and why and how they make
relationships is unique. But they do need… if they, I think… I’ve said
this often to very violent women: “Look you’re with a very violent man –
that was your choice. But now you want to break that cycle, think of
him as your heroin pusher. If you stay away from him, just like cold
turkey, long enough, that need for him will die.” Freud said a long time
ago that in time to come all emotions will be found in chemicals of the
brain and he’s so right. And, that’s why I call it an addiction. Just
the same way as an alcoholic is for his bottle, a drug addict the
needle, and a violent relationship for some people. But, it can be
Dean: What about women who are the predominant aggressors? You’ve run across those as well, I take it?
Erin: They were in my refuge. And we had long-term
therapeutic care. We had the mother house, the big mother house, and
then we had shared accommodations in houses. And we also had many houses
across England. And the Palm Court hotel, that was the second stage.
That had seventy four private suites. And we started that, and you could
stay there as long as you liked until you were ready to move back into
Dean: I find when I speak about domestic violence
issues, and I have written and done some work in this area for more than
ten years – you were a bit of an inspiration there by the way – in any
case, people–and sometimes it’s people who call themselves feminists,
but often it’s people who call themselves conservatives or maybe even
Tories (like you’d call them) or just everyday, not very political
people–either become enraged with me or look at me as if there’s
something very silly about me when I say there is a serious problem with
violent women and that perhaps a quarter of domestic violent
relationships, it is the woman who is mostly the violent one and
probably in half or more it’s both of them who are violent in one way or
another. You’re nodding, I think you agree that that sounds about
Dean: But, people become either frightened or
enraged or laugh when you suggest that there are violent women. Where do
you think that comes from?
Erin: Most people who are violent don’t think
they’re violent because it’s been their reality from a very early age.
That’s why I don’t even go out to dinner now. I sit down at the table
and I can look at people mostly and know what they’ve been up to. A lot
of it’s defensive. A lot of it.
Dean: What do you mean, it’s defensive?
Erin: They know within themselves how they behave and they don’t want to hear about it.
Dean: You mentioned feminism is a sort of liberal
leftist movement which I think it was originally; although you do have
women who consider themselves…
Erin: Yeah, at some point, try and read Susan
Brownmiller’s book, because she sent me her books on rape in the very
beginning. I couldn’t read them, bless her heart, but she has since
recanted. And that was an amazing thing. I was also at the American
Embassy when Betty Friedan recanted what she’d said and she said, “I
apologize. We, as women have gone to the male, for the throat over
economics and that isn’t what we should have done. We should have built
the relationship between men and women.”
Dean: Betty Friedan said that?
Erin: Yes, she did, in the American Embassy about
1980, ’81. And I just remember looking at her and thinking, “look at the
damage you’ve done with what you’ve said over the years!” It’s all very
well everybody recanting, but, the damage is done.
Dean: Well, and where is the knowledge that they’ve
recanted? Susan Brownmiller published a simply horrible screed about
rape and how…
Erin: No she has since then written a book…we’re friends, I know her…she’s since then wrote a book and just said, “I was wrong.”
Dean: That’s actually good for me to hear, because
her original writings on rape about it being this… I don’t know… men
have been raping women for millions of years and… very upsetting stuff!
It’s good to hear that you’re friends and that she’s recanted her views
on that. I’d probably like to talk to her some time. But, it seems to me
as if people either want to see women as exclusively victims or as
somehow angelic figures.
Erin: That’s mostly men. Women know. We know each
other. And privately, they’ll say what they really believe. But an awful
lot of men will not hear a word about violent women. They like women on
pedestals. It makes them feel safe.
Dean: So then, it’s not just the feminists, although
the feminists appear to be part of it. The feminists get angry and the
men become derisive or protective. They don’t want to believe there can
be violent women. Seems like.
Erin: No, but once you start saying that any group
like radical feminists, “look, we have a problem that we need to resolve
among women.” You’re talking about almost saying, possibly, there is a
million dollar industry out there. You have to share it with men because
men and women can equally be violent,” and you’re actually talking
about money and they aren’t going to give up on that. They’ve built an
empire over forty years, very, very powerful. And we have women in very
powerful situations, Canada, Australia, and here, because at one point
officials list that the Attorney General in this country was a
woman–Harriet Harman is a woman who does huge amounts of damage. And
she’s been the Women’s Minister. And I have awful problems with her and
several others because they are now very powerful. They’re powerful in
the judiciary, they’re powerful in Social Services… particularly in
Canada, that’s one of the worst countries in the world.
Dean: Harriet Harman, she’s a Member of Parliament
there in Britain, yes? From what I’ve read about her, she seems very
hateful. She is a feminist, yes?
Erin: Well, I tried to reason with her once. We were
both at the conference and I just said to her, “Look Harriet, you’ve
simply got to accept the figures about violent women.” She just swung
around on me and her face changed. She said, “The amount of men who are
beaten up is miniscule.” And I just looked at her, and I thought,
“There’s nothing I can do with you because your mind is closed.”
Dean: Well the government’s own figures don’t even show that to be true, do they?
Erin: Yes, the British Home crime figures show virtually equal between men and women, domestic violence.
Erin: It doesn’t matter how often you say this, or you point it out. You tell a lie long enough, Goebbels said, you can brainwash the entire community. And that’s what’s happened here.
Dean: Now there are those who be accusing you of
being a conspiracy theorist or some sort of crazy person to suggest the
domestic violence industry is a billion dollar industry.
Erin: That’s not too difficult. Just look at the figures, if you can get your hands on them.
Dean: Like what figures?
Erin: How much V.A.W.A., I think that’s what you call it, gets every year.
Dean: The Violence Against Women Act in America?
Dean: Yeah, there’s an incredible amount of money
the government funds, and it goes to these shelters. And it’s not
accounted for so far as I know.
Erin: Yeah. But I’ll bet a lot of it doesn’t get
near the shelters. Most of it will go to all the administrative and all
the legal battles that the feminists… it pays… look, it’s always funded
the women’s movement. Everywhere.
Erin: Yes. That’s why I wrote the book. Because somebody’s got to say it. Loudly!
Dean: That there is a problem, particularly with the
feminist movement at this point because of the money they get from
Dean: …private charitable donations?
Dean: Would you say they also rely on people’s perhaps instinctive need to protect women without thinking rationally about…?
Erin: Well, now just imagine, I mean, two people on
my board–well three or four of them–were millionaires. Yeah, and they
were very protective of women. And when you present them with the fact
that men equally need protecting, they’d sew up their pockets. What I
did then – I couldn’t keep the house open because none of us had any
money. What I did… a very nice woman created charity shops and we called
them Men’s Aid and that employed a man to go and see every single man
who wanted to see us.
Dean: I see, but you haven’t been successful in continuing that sort of thing?
Erin: No, I managed to open the house and some men were ready to come in , but I couldn’t get a penny from anybody.
Dean: You couldn’t get a penny from anybody – for helping men? Still can’t really?
Erin: No you can’t
Dean: It’s horrible. Something should be done…. All
right, you recently were quoted–I saw this on a video somewhere, and you
just said something earlier–the most frightening country in the entire
world is Canada?
Dean: Now, that seems a bit hyperbolic, and it might out of context because…
Erin: No it’s not.
Dean: Well I think people from places like Saudi
Arabia or North Korea might wish to take issue with you. But I take it
you mean that in the area of domestic violence, feminism, laws against
men, that sort of thing?
Erin: Yes. I do. I did a six week tour, with Senator
Anne Cools, all across Canada. And there were some wonderful (there was
one in Windsor was wonderful) uh, men’s groups, just struggling to keep
going. And as we traveled and talked to men’s groups, we realized how
terribly dangerous it is because it’s almost as though the entire
government and the judiciary–the same people–had been infiltrated by
very radical feminists out to get men. And I talked to people all the
way across Canada. You know my mother was Canadian, and I’m half
Canadian, and it hurt actually. See I was a child in Toronto, and my
feeling as we went through is real fear. I remember I was
working with Anne in the Senate and I walked in to the lift, and this
man who was in the lift with me was cowering over in the corner. And I
came out and I said to Anne, “What on earth was that about?” And she
said, “Men are frightened. They just don’t know when they’re going to be
told they’re sexually harassing somebody.”
Dean: I’m sure there are Canadian and other men who are scoffing at this because they’ve never gotten into that situation, but I’ve…
Erin: Those men scoff all over the world, because
it’s not their situation. Where is the humanity in men for each other?
We women have it naturally with each other, but men don’t seem to have
the same ability to discuss emotional issues.
Dean: That’s an interesting thing, because I noticed
on Facebook, you said something, I don’t have an exact quote, but you
were despairing that men’s groups never seem to go anywhere or get any
traction. Are you still finding that to be true?
Erin: Yes, I do find that to be true. I really do.
And it’s a great sadness because the only way we’re going to heal what’s
happened between the anti-male, misandry, and ordinary normal people in
loving relationships, is for men to take their lead in what’s happening
and make their opinions known and stand up as otherwise there’s this
deepening divide in relationships between men and women.
Dean: Well, there is a growing men’s movement I
think you’ll be happy to hear, I know I do a lot of work on A Voice for
Men, and with others, and it does seem to be growing all of a sudden. It
seems to be predominated by people who are in their 20s, 30s and 40s
who grew up in the wake of all the family destruction that we’ve seen
since the ’70s. So, I think there’s hope there. But I hope people listen
to your words and are galvanized by them. Men do need to be less
fearful of speaking up. And more compassionate. I mentioned this to you
in private conversation, but I’ll mention it again: a year or so ago,
here in the United States, there was a man named Thomas Ball
who was accused of molesting his child [editorial correction: accused
of slapping his child once] and went through 2 or 3 years family court
hell [editorial correction: it was over 10 years of Family Court Hell],
having been accused, and eventually doused himself with gasoline and set
himself on fire in front of a courthouse and the press, to the extent
they reported it at all, either behaved as if it was a bizarre mystery
or, it was a terrorist incident. What does that say about our country
when you have that reaction to a man in that much pain willing to do
something so horrible?
Erin: All I can say is… for a start, relationships
are probably, when they go wrong, the most devastating thing that can
happen: the woman usually gets to keep the kids and the man is suddenly
out of the family. And he’s kept outside. He’s kept outside by the law,
by the usual people and I think the big tragedy of all this is that at
the moment, nobody’s listening. But I do take your point about it
getting better, because I think your analysis is correct. And I think
that there will come a tipping point when we’ll get to where the truth
of all this will come out and all we can all do, those of us who are
working this work, is to keep going and to keep going. And I hope in my
lifetime we will see refuge and comfort and care for everyone,
particularly children, because it’s generational. And if we don’t save
the children of this generation, we create another generation of
violence and desperate people.
Dean: Well, I know that even here in the States it’s
quite common for most refuges not only to refuse men, but they’ll
refuse boys if they are over the age of 12 or 13.
Erin: Twelve here.
Dean: Twelve there. So what are you teaching those young boys when you do that to them, do you think?
Erin: Well there was a case the other day – I was
talking to the mother. She was completely bloody after she’d been beaten
up. She got to the police station with her children. Her boy was 16
and… when women’s aid came to collect her, they said, “You can’t take
your 16 year old son.” She said, “What can I do then?” “Well you’ll have
to make accommodations.” She said, “I left my son in the police station
for the Social Services to collect him because I knew I couldn’t cope
after finding my own accommodation and I wouldn’t be protected.” I said,
“You’re quite right. How would that poor child… he’s only 16 and seeing
his mother beaten up, how many times he couldn’t count – left.” That’s
as far as I am concerned, cruel.
Dean: It seems to be and also may be teaching him a
message to internalize his father’s anger and his father’s violence and
think, “Well this is just what men are.” Right?
Dean: On the other hand, I have a good friend,
obviously I won’t name him…he was in a relationship where his wife was
very violent with him and very violent with his children and he stayed
in that relationship even though it was going on for years because he
feared to call the police for help. He was certain he would be arrested.
Erin: He’s right.
Dean: He was right wasn’t he? Almost any man would be.
Erin: Listen to this: Who trains the police? Women’s Aid.
Dean: Women’s Aid.
Erin: Yeah. All across for 40 years, they have been
doing educational packages which they then sell to, whether it’s to the
police or social services, and the message is always there: it’s all
men, it’s all men, it’s all men.
Dean: And it’s a lie, isn’t it?
Erin: It’s a massive lie. Yes. And it’s a very,
very, very – a lie worth telling because you get billions out of this.
This is more about money than it is about caring for anybody.
Dean: Because it’s both about government funding and
charitable funding. Somehow you say, women need help and purses open,
checkbooks open. You say men need help and what happens?
Erin: Men don’t need help, we all know that men are violent brutes because they’ve got a Y chromosome and women don’t.
Dean: And that’s just so horribly a sexist thing to say, isn’t it?
Erin: Isn’t it? When they picketed, they used to
have these pickets when they were picketing me saying, “All men are
bastards!, “All men are rapists!” Well my sons aren’t, for a start.
Dean: …and your own mother was quite a violent person, so you said.
Erin: But then you see, both sides – I can trace
violence back for three generations. For every women who came into the
refuge–and we used to take about a thousand mothers and children at the
height of when we were working–We did the first hundred, as an example:
we did a three generational questionnaire. And it answered itself. Women
who came in who were innocent victims of their partner’s violence
didn’t come from violent relationships, but the women who were victims
of their own violence, that’s where you saw the generational violence.
Dean: What do you mean “victims of their own violence?”
Erin: Well, look at it this way: Baby P was a big, big case here
just recently, a child, a beautiful little boy… was hideously battered
by a violent mother and her boyfriend. He was taken into hospital and he
died. Everybody across the country was weeping over Baby P, because it
made the newspapers. And I said then, “right, when this man grows up,
this child, had he been able to grow up, he probably would have been a
monster and then you would hate him.”
Dean: I think I see what you mean there. Plus would
you say that women who get violent are in many ways victims of their own
Erin: Absolutely. Yes. What I’m looking for when I
take care of people who are victims of their own violence is a way that
they can transcend. I was saved by my mentor, Miss Williams; without
her; that’s why my original memoir from my childhood was called
“Infernal Child,” because I was a very, very violent, dangerous child.
Dean: Were you?
Dean: It’s almost as if we’re afraid to see women as human beings with the same flaws as men.
Erin: Isn’t it awful? Because it’s so condescending
to tell all women they’re victims. I’m not a victim. I made my choices
and I take the consequences. And I used to often say that to a woman.
I’d say, “Look, you chose that man, you knew he was violent, you chose
to have children by this man even though you were being beaten up. Now
you take some responsibility for this.”
Dean: Well and one of the patterns I’ve seen and
read about is that you’ll get these women in violent relationships and
they’ll be the ones who actually start the hitting.
Erin: Yes, they do, because the majority of violent women bank on the fact that most men don’t hit women. And they don’t.
Dean: And most men don’t hit women.
Erin: Yeah then…
Dean: And so then a woman will hit, and hit and hit…
and then finally he loses his mind turns and punches her, and now she
gets to be a victim right?
Erin: Yeah. Sometimes she doesn’t even have to wait
to provoke him to where he loses it. She bangs her head on a wall and
calls the police.
Dean: Now that’s going to make some people angry. You just suggested women will intentionally injure themselves.
Erin: And some men. I mean, it’s not just women or
just men; it’s what you learned in childhood. A lot of these women I
deal with have severe personality disorders. As do the men. And whoever
gets involved with them, even by accident mostly, is going to get… it’s a
train crash. Because it takes time for the loving partner to realize
what they’ve taken on. And an interesting thing about men, when they see
what they think is a very, very – what would the word be? A very
fragile woman. And this is a classic. A narcissistic
exhibitionist–there’s the woman, the whole crowd at the party are
looking at her. She’s usually very well turned out because she’s
narcissistic. She looks good and she’s incredibly warm. It isn’t until
he gets deeper into the relationship that he realizes that there’s
nothing inside that woman. What he saw was… the harmed child in the
woman and he wants to make it better. He wants to defend her and take
care of her, and then suddenly he realizes that the mask of sanity… he
sees through it and it’s too late.
Dean: Because everybody else sees her as…
Erin: Wonderful! Life of the party! And he’s drawn
in by that! Men love to have the woman on their arm that everybody else
would love to own.
Dean: Vivacious, pretty, etc…
Erin: Like my mother, narcissistic exhibitionist, and they’re very, very dangerous and there’s no treatment.
Dean: There was a famous case here in the States, Bobby Kennedy, Jr…
Dean: …got a divorce and his ex-wife, well, shows
all the patterns of being either a narcissist or what they call a
Borderline Personality. When she killed herself, everybody blamed him.
And then it came out that she had Borderline Personality Disorder and
Bobby Kennedy, Jr., you know, was at least somewhat vindicated. They
ceased to accuse him of being abusive, but nobody really apologized or
acknowledged the fact that she had been violent toward him and his
children and nobody wanted to… it was like that part of it kind of got
elided. “Oh well, she was mentally disturbed,” and…
Erin: She wasn’t, she had a personality disorder –
that’s not mentally disturbed. She knew damn well what she was doing.
And her final, final act of outrage to make sure he got even more
damaged, was to kill herself.
Dean: So you’re saying a Borderline personality isn’t mentally disturbed?
Dean: Because, their personality…?
Erin: This is what I’m going to say now and I know
its ahead of the game because MRI scans are only starting to be studied:
most borderline personality disorders and also narcissistic
exhibitionists are damaged, because they have witnessed or been part of
violent parenting or dysfunctional parenting. And it’s actually damaged
the way information goes to the brain. They can now tell you when
children who’ve been exposed to toxic violence and sexual abuse…. they
can now see in the right frontal lobe how the neurons, and the damage
that’s down there… that’s all to come because it’s now happening and
there are big studies going on looking at children’s brains who are
Dean: And yet people still seem afraid of it; they
seem afraid of the feminist movement. Do you think the feminist movement
can reform itself and become something better or is it time to just…
Erin: No, I think, again this new generation coming
up who are in their 20s now have seen a lot of the damage even in their
own parenting in feminist households. And I think they will grow up to
be far more inclusive. And, I think in about 20 years perhaps – I don’t
know if I’ll still be alive – that we will look at these last 40, 50
years as the dark ages for human relationships.
Dean: Because it should be Humanism that we’re talking about and…
Erin: Yes. Love.
Dean: …helping each other…
Erin: Love, compassion… all the things that that… we
need, we need to love and be loved. It’s as simple as that. And this
radical feminist movement really highjacked everything from the equity
feminists. Essentially it is a hateful movement. It just hates a whole
group of people and wishes them ill.
Dean: You use the phrase, “equity feminism”. Are you
using that to describe women who think of themselves as feminists, but
really only want fairness and equality?
Erin: Yes, absolutely.
Dean: Perhaps even the word “feminism” isn’t right at this point for them. They’re really more humanists and don’t realize it?
Erin: Yeah. I think that’s right. But then you see
we’ve had nearly 50 years now of brainwashing, and this lie has been
standing out there. But I do see more and more people realize… and there
were two conferences in America; one in Sacramento… I went to the one
in Sacramento, and it was the first inclusive conference and it was such
a joy to be there. Maury Straus was there.
Erin: …and Charles Cory… he’s wonderful, and Edward.
There’s a whole load of people who have been there from the very
beginning. Then there was a second one in L.A. and one of the women from
a University said, “I couldn’t let anybody know that I was here from my
university or I’d lose my tenure.” And she’s right, she would.
Dean: Lose her tenure?
Dean: I thought that would be nearly impossible.
Dean: But, it’s almost like this radical feminism is
underground, people don’t know that it’s there. And you try to tell
them and [they say you think] it’s a conspiracy. But it’s not a
conspiracy, is it? It’s just reality of what’s in the university and a
lot of these government departments, right?
Erin: That’s where it came from. That’s where it all
started. And it’s interesting though because many of those Women’s
Studies are being shut down.
Dean: Well, it’s funny, and they seem to be getting
more and more desperate. I mentioned this to you earlier, but not on
camera. Warren Farrell, you know him, yes?
Erin: He’s a great friend.
Dean: Very sweet gentleman, and, there is a growing
movement, A Voice for Men is a big part of it. But Warren Farrell was to
give a talk at the University of Toronto and feminists, people calling
themselves feminists, so I suppose anybody watching this that says,
“Well, I’m a feminist and I’m not like that,” well listen up, there are
women who are calling themselves, working in your name, and men, doing
this. They were getting extremely violent, locking arms, trying to bar
people from getting in to see Warren Farrell speak. Some of them wound
up getting arrested [editorial correction: I thought there had been
arrests. I was mistaken]. Calling people names, horribly abusing men who
were trying to get in there. But it was all caught on camera and this
time some people were arrested, and I see that as positive in two ways:
A) it’s getting some coverage and B) the police actually were willing to
make an arrest or two. [Editorial comment: I was wrong, there were no
arrests that we know of.] Didn’t you say early on, 40 or 50 years ago,
the police wouldn’t arrest violent women?
Erin: No… when I first started police weren’t
allowed to do anything to protect women, or men, because it was called
“a domestic.” That’s one of the first things we had to change. And now,
the problem with that is, yes they can go in and arrest, but, in most
cases they will only arrest the man.
Dean: I seem to recall you mentioning something
about how perhaps 40, 50 years ago in the 70’s there were violent women
protesting you and the police told you they were afraid of them?
Erin: That’s absolutely right. I was at a luncheon
for Women of the Year at the Savoy, and there was all this shouting. I
had to get through the pickets. And the funniest one was “Pizzey is the
pits!” But they also had the ones, “all men are rapists” “all men are
bastards” and I went down to the police and said, “Look, if this was
men, you’d arrest them all.” And there’s a great big copper and I said,
“Why aren’t you arresting them?” He said, “Well it’s women,” and there’s
a terrified look on his face. And I had to have a police escort all
Dean: And you had to have a police escort because why?
Erin: Death threats. Listen, police don’t give you an escort, because it costs a lot of money, unless they’re worried about it.
Dean: And why were they threatening you?
Erin: Well, for various reasons. I suppose the major
one is that I was talking out at the time when the money was starting
to come in, and I was telling the truth as loudly as I could. That’s
probably why. And I must remind you that Senator Anne Cools and myself
were to go to Vancouver to speak, and…
Dean: Senator Anne Cools is a Canadian Senator?
Erin: Yes. And she supports men. And… there was
death threats and police said to her, “Do you want to go in and get on
with this or should you just cancel it?” And we both said, “No, no, were
going to go.” It was very nerve wracking.
Dean: And they hate you for saying that women can be violent or that domestic violence is often or usually mutual?
Erin: Yeah. And also that I say that it’s a fact
that it’s a multi-million, billion dollar industry. That’s one that
absolutely outrages them, because they don’t want anyone to know how
much money they’re getting.
Dean: It’s funny, and I happen to know that even in
the States there is no accounting for where that money goes. I guess
it’s marked as going to women’s shelters and that’s it – it’s like a
Erin: Well, it’s not even going to women’s shelters.
It’s going to keeping the empire going. Great big offices, loads and
loads of staff – that’s what happens.
Dean: Because the people in most of these houses are volunteers, or being paid hardly anything, right?
Dean: That’s been my experience as well. So, you
think the rage comes… Well, I might disagree with you a little, only in
the sense that I know there’s a lot of money involved, people don’t
believe it but there is, but I also think there’s this… I’ve seen it in
people who have no stake in it, they become enraged with me when I say
women are half the problem in domestic violence. That just suggesting
women are violent makes people extremely angry, and I don’t know where
that comes from, but…
Erin: I think you’ll find it’s particularly those sort of women because they’re violent themselves, and they know it. And men.
Dean: And yet what you’ve just described, too,
there’s also this also this protective instinct in men. In the men’s
movement, we call it the “White Knight” impulse – the White Knight
Erin: Yeah. I call it the… to me it’s the… oh what’s
the word? It escaped my mind now, but there is a gene in men I think,
that is put in there to take care of their children, and to be gentle
with their women. I think men have that.
Dean: I think men are, contrary to the stereotype, actually, generally fairly gentle creatures.
Erin: I think that’s true as well, and much much
simpler than women. It’s much easier to talk to men, because men… men
explode with rage, right? I can deal with that. Well some men. It’s
women implode. And women will actually, ’tis true, they will sit quietly
and they will plot for what they want. And that’s very female because
you implode with rage. Different chemicals.
Dean: So, you think men and women are wired or are chemically somewhat different from each other then.
Erin: Well, it’s been the MRI scans shown men’s
brains, women’s brains… women’s brains have scatter all across the
brain, because women actually can do many things at once. Whereas a
man’s brain, when they look at the MRI scan, it’s much more linear –
Dean: So… interesting, interesting. So we’ve evolved to be different, and perhaps we’ve evolved to want to protect women.
Erin: Of course, that’s what you’ve done since the
beginning of time. The woman has actually evolved to nurture the
children and to nurture a family setup. That’s why she collects the
food, on the ground food, but not plowing… men go out, from early days,
and bring home the bacon, whether it’s a piece of bear or whatever. What
isn’t healthy though, is, it takes… you know in an ideal world the
mothering and the fathering under one roof with the children is the best
way a child can grow up – being nurtured by each parent. Yes, other
people can nurture a child but that biological bond between the mother
and the father is the best that you can offer your child.
Dean: I think the nurturing impulse in men is underrated. I think men have a very strong nurturing impulse too.
Erin: They do. No but, interesting is that I lived
for six years on a farm in Italy. And the men did all the working
outside, they did all the actual backbreaking work on the farm and the
women did all the cooking in the home and looking after the children,
but the fathers were equally… they’re there, the fathers were there all
day with their kids. And it was a very happy setup.
Dean: You know it’s funny, I’ve often thought that
it’s been since the Industrial Revolution that the family has actually
really started to struggle because that’s where you saw, you know,
Father leaves and is gone all day, and comes back after twelve hours,
and I’m not sure that’s how we evolved. I’m not sure that’s really the
most natural arrangement. But perhaps I’m getting us off topic. Would
you be willing to talk to me again and do another interview?
Erin: Certainly. Yes.
Dean: I’m not sure what we should close with here.
But do you see reason for hope in the future as to people getting more
realistic about what domestic violence is, and women’s culpability, and
that sort of thing?
Erin: I hope so. I pray every night that this is
going to happen. That we’re going to recognize that the family is under
serious threat and it’s everybody’s job to do something about it…to come
together and make changes.
Dean: All right. Well, thank you so very much for
talking to me Erin! Again everybody, this is Episode 2 of the Honey
Badger files. My guest has been Erin Pizzey. Her book is, “This Way to the Revolution – a Memoir” from Peter Owen publishers. Thank you so much, Erin. I hope to talk to you again soon.
Erin: Thank you.
Upon request of some readers/listeners, click here to see
references to as many things as I could find that Erin talked about, at
least in some fashion:
This Way to the Revolution:
Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear by Erin Pizzey:
Other books and articles by Pizzey:
UK Foreign Office (now the Foreign & Commonwealth Office):
Feminist Collectives have been around for decades, and are still active:
A paper by a Marxist feminist on the intersection and history of feminism as it relates to Marxism:
Pictures of Erin’s first refuge house and early work:
National Coalition for Men:
Info on ignored and abused Male Domestic Violence victims:
An old women’s coverture document:
Psychologist & Professor Don Dutton, “Let’s stop playing the gender blame game,” Vancouver Sun:
Family of Men Support Society:
MASH*4077 / One Brick Short campaign:
Professor Murray A. Straus: Multiple papers and other information on domestic violence
Richard James Gelles, PhD, Joanne & Raymand Welsh chare of Child
Welfare and Family violence: reearch, links to scholarly papers
Linda Kelly: Disabusing the definition of domestic abuse: how women batter men and the role of the feminist state:
Sigmund Freud: “CONSCIOUSNESS is energy received and decoded by a
STRUCTURE. In human beings, the receiving-decoding structures are
PM News: Man’s Embarrassing Secret In Court: My Wife Beats Me Up
Susan Brownmiller: Rape is “nothing more or less than a conscious
process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of
Susan Brownmiller: I cannot at this time verify that Brownmiller ever
said she was wrong. But her web site is here and if someone can verify
the recanting I will reference it.
Domestic Abuse Hotline for Men and Women
Who Needs Feminism.org photos:
Betty Friedan: Cannot verify the recanting but Friedan was quoted in
the 1970s as saying “Men weren’t really the enemy, they were fellow
Catherine Kieu Becker, Woman cut off husband’s penis, put it in disposal
Joseph Goebbels: “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it.”
VAWA Funding: TEPA programs
Violence Against Women Act: History and Federal Funding:
“The most frightening country in the entire world is Canada” rhetoric
Senator Anne Cools
Riding the Donkey Backwards: Men as the Unacceptable Victims of Marital Violence:
Thomas Ball, found innocent, kills self over family court abuse:
British Prime Minister criticizes absent fathers, Pizzey says there
are as many feckless women as men and that women frequently won’t let
fathers see their children:
Suicide Rate Greater Among Divorced Men, Research Finds
More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male, report reveals
Shelters routinely refuse men, boys over the age of 13
Men and boys presumed guilty when accused of abuse:
Infernal Child: World Without Love by Erin Pizzey
The number of women who hit first or hit back is “much greater than has generally been assumed.” Deborah Capaldi, Ph.D.
Deborah Capaldi, PhD, Research Scientist, Oregon Social Learning Center
Women that provoke men to abuse them
RFK JR, Bobby Kennedy Junior, Mary Richardson Kennedy:
Visible effect on brains of children from abusive homes:
Leaving the Sisterhood: A recovering feminist speaks by Dr. Elly Tams
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D.
Historic Domestic Violence Counference Includes Male Victims (Erin
references someone named “Edward,” at this time I cannot confirm if she
means Edward Bartlett, Ph.D. from this conference:
Edward E. Bartlett PhD, President of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments:
Warren Farrell Protest at the University of Toronto, StudioBrulé
Warren Farrell’s home page:
Dr. Charles Corry, Police arrest men who report violence, men should not report:
MRI Scans: Girl Brain, Boy Brain? How much is “hard wired” and how much not?