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Cover of "Prone to Violence," by Ering Pizzey

After Prone to Violence had been published in 1982, shipped out for distribution and placed on the shelves in the book stores, the redfems so thoroughly pilfered the copies of the book that only 13 copies of the book remained in a few libraries in the whole world.
   As a result of that the publisher went into receivership.  That is an example of the power of feminist censorship in action.
   However, the book is now available on the Internet, and it has been put back into print.

 
 
 
 

Domestic violence can't be a gender issue

The Guardian
26 November 2001

Domestic violence can't be a gender issue

Erin Pizzey, veteran feminist campaigner, tells Dina Rabinovitch why she now thinks that women can be just as abusive as men

Erin Pizzey, stocking-footed and sporting a huge cross, comes to the door. The rain's coming down with Old Testament vengeance, and I am struggling to park, then carry out and protect small baby and tape-recorder. Pizzey offers just enough help to get me started - she hands me one of those residents' permits that keeps your car safe from traffic wardens - then abruptly turns around and heads back up the stairs, leaving me to manage the rest on my own. It's a small snapshot of what she believes in doing for women: she sets them up to be independent.

Once upon a time, back in the 70s, if you were a woman having a bad time, Pizzey's was the name to conjure with. The founder of the Chiswick Women's Refuge[1] - which gave rise to Refuge, the national domestic violence charity, and the establishment of hundreds of women's refuges - she was part of the culture back then, a synonym for aid. I grew up in Hendon, a place impervious to the zeitgeist. But on the road where I lived in the 70s the big house at the top was squatted by a women's refuge: that's how far Pizzey's influence penetrated. [2]

These days Pizzey is on her own, in the top flat of a converted house in south London. Her centre of operations is the bright-yellow living room, with a computer, and a bed. When you visit, she offers you food from the kitchen - there's bread in the oven today. So far, so maternal. But just beneath the solidity, all is fragile.

Last year was not good for Pizzey: she was diagnosed with cancer, and her grandson, Keita, a schizophrenic, committed suicide in a prison cell.[3]   She reacted in typical fashion - galvanising her family to fight the coroner's verdict of death by hanging, because her grandson should never have been left in a cell alone. Pizzey said - as other families of mentally ill patients in prison have protested unsuccessfully before - that the prison service didn't care about her grandson, that their neglect contributed to his death. And because she's an old campaigner she managed to have the case reheard - last month a jury looked at the evidence again, and found unanimously that his death was contributed to by the neglect of prison staff. The family's solicitor called the verdict, the first ever to reach a finding of neglect in a suicide case, a "legal landmark".

But she also actively wrenched her granddaughter, Amber, away from grief, by putting her up for a bad-taste TV show. So the Mail put the following words over an article by Pizzey describing Amber's adventures on Temptation Island: "I'm a feminist, that's why I wanted my granddaughter to be a sexual temptress." Pizzey isn't wasting good anger on malicious headlines.

She just chuckles. As it happens - and she has the letter to prove it - she has long since been disowned by feminism. This comes as a shock to someone of my generation - we grew up hearing about the work she did for other women - but also an insight into the beginnings of the movement which has made our lives so much easier. The problem with Pizzey - for feminism, anyhow - is she never toes anybody's party line. Right now she is writing a book - A Terrorist Within the Family - that says men are as much victims of domestic abuse as women.

These things are complicated - but ever current. On my way to south London to meet Pizzey they're talking about domestic violence on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, quoting the statistic that every third day a woman in this country is beaten or killed by a current or ex-partner. When I repeat this to Pizzey, it causes her to grimace. She doesn't accept the thesis - that only men need to learn to change their behaviour - or the figures. [4]

Still, you don't have to be a burner of Playtex not to want your descendants on Temptation Island. What was she doing sending her grand-daughter off to seduce men away from their partners in the name of reality viewing? "Amber's so young to have such a terrible tragedy - her brother's dead, she's 22, and surrounded by grieving adults. This journalist mentioned he was looking for young people to go to this island, play a sort of dating game on the beach. Amber's really pretty, so I sent him two pictures of her, and said to her, look, you can't afford a holiday, but this is two weeks on a tropical island.

"And, by the way," and here comes the Pizzey touch - the bit that's about carving out a life, "I told her, if you truly want to be a singer, this is what it's going to be like. There'll be people there who'll be willing to do almost anything to get on the television: go and try 15 minutes of fame, and see what you make of it."

Amber was voted off Temptation Island, but tells her grandma she's still glad she went, though she hated the rejection. Her grandma, meanwhile, continues to court rejection from the women movement. We talk about her latest book. "It's not that I'm saying women are as abusive as men; the point is, it's not men and women at all. It's anybody who comes from that kind of background.

"If you come from a dysfunctional, violent and sexually abusive family, how do you learn? Therefore, domestic violence can't be a gender issue, it can't be just men, because we girls - and I was from one of those families - are just as badly affected." So women are as violent as men? "Well, we tend to implode, our violence is turned in on ourselves or is covert - men explode and hurt others." So it's not exactly the same? "It's violence," Pizzey says stubbornly, and goes on to tell a story of a woman she knows who bullies her husband with domestic chores.


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  1. Erin Pizzey's book Prone to Violence recounts the experiences she made during the creation-, and first few years of existence, of the Chiswick Women's Refuge.
  2. The Planned Destruction of The Family, an article by Erin Pizzey, relates some of the history of the take-over of the women's refuge movement by radical feminists.
  3. The circumstances of Keita's death are told in an obituary by Erin Pizzey, describing the life of her grandson and the circumstances of his death.  He could still be alive if he had been treated in a hospital instead of being jailed.  But, he was a man, a young man. See WHY DID MY GRANDSON DIE? (original title FRAGILE), The Observer, 2000 04 09.
  4. It doesn't quite come across that way in the article, but study after study by reputable social researchers shows that women are as likely, or even slightly more so, as men to initiate violence.  Not only that, but the vast majority of violence by women is not in self-defense.  The most comprehensive meta analysis of available research into partner violence shows that women are slightly more often violent than men, but that women are slightly more likely to be seriously injured in partner violence:

Sex Differences in Aggression Between Heterosexual Partners:
A Meta-Analytic Review

John Archer
University of Central Lancashire

Meta-analyses of sex differences in physical aggression to heterosexual partners and in its physical consequences are reported. Women were slightly more likely (d = -.05) than men to use one or more act of physical aggression and to use such acts more frequently. Men were more likely (d = .15) to inflict an injury, and overall 62% of those injured by a partner were women. The findings partially support previous claims that different methods of measurement produce conflicting results, but there was also evidence that the sample was an important moderator of effect size. Continuous models showed that younger aged dating samples and a lower proportion of physically aggressive males predicted effect sizes in the female direction. Analyses were limited by the available database, which is biased toward young dating samples in the United States. Wider variations are discussed in terms of two conflicting norms about physical aggression to partners that operate to different degrees in different cultures.

Psychological Bulletin, 2000. Vol. 136. No. 5. 651-680
(0033-2909/00/$5.00 DOI: 10.1037//0033-2909.126.5.651

John Archer tested for various types of bias in the hundreds of studies he analyzed and found that bias is present to varying extents in some of them.
   It must be stressed that studies based solely on police- or judicial statistics suffer from feminist-induced bias in self-reporting, biased police reporting, biased judicial decisions, and from major differences in psychological and social conditioning of men and women. 
   Women are far more likely than men to report that they experienced aggression.  Women are being encouraged to report transgressions against themselves, whether their allegations are true or false, while men are being pressured through social conditioning not to complain about women's transgressions.  What aggravates the differences are Zero-Tolerance policies, on account of which in many jurisdictions men will be arrested in partner-violence altercations, even if they are seriously injured and women are not.
   On account of the hype of domestic-violence politics promoted by radical, misandrist and heterophobic feminists, domestic violence came to be considered synonymous with violence against women.  Tragically, in consequence domestic violence against the largest single group of domestic-violence victims is increasingly being ignored.
   Women commit about two-thirds of domestic violence against children.  Women's boyfriends, common-law husbands and children's stepfathers commit a substantial portion of family violence against children. 
   natural fathers are far less likely than women to be perpetrators of family violence against children and comprise about one fifth of the perpetrators who do. It follows that the cycle of violence is alive and well, and is being kept so largely by women — especially by redfems.  Many abused children grow into adult abusers. (See also: Child Abuse and Homicide and Child Abuse and Neglect Data at the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, Health Canada, comments by Eeva Sodhi.)
   However, there is research that shows that, of all "family types," families headed by two married biological parents (a father and a mother) are the safest – by far – for children, men and women.  Compared to the risks faced by them in families headed by two married biological families, children in cohabiting single-mother "families" are 33 times more likely to be seriously injured and 73 times more likely to be killed (Source: Robert Whelan, Broken Homes & Battered Children, 1993, quoted in Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children, by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder #1535)

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Posted 2001 11 28