Founder of First Battered Women’s Shelter Criticizes Industry was last modified: December 19th, 2019 by Howard Iken
Founder of First Battered Women’s Shelter Criticizes Industry

Founder of First Battered Women’s Shelter Criticizes Industry

Video Transcript

Tom Lemons:              

Today, we have a very special guest on the Ayo and Iken Report. A woman who has spent a lifetime battling radical feminism, and she actually established the very first domestic violence shelter in the world. Please welcome all the way from London, England, author and activist Erin Pizzey.

So Erin, thank you so much again for joining us. First I just want to start by, can you tell us just briefly a little bit about your history, because we have a lot of people in the United States know who you are, but there are some who do not and they would love to know a little bit about your history.

Erin Pizzey:             

Well, I think the most important point about why I ended up working and creating a refuge, was because as a child, both my parents fought all the time. They were very dysfunctional and verbally and emotionally extremely violent. And I always used to think to myself, as a child, “If I have a girl, first of all, I don’t want to be like them. And secondly, I want to make it possible for children not to have to go through this.”

And so I was married and I was living in Hammersmith, London with two children and a dog and a cat. And I became very interested in the emerging women’s movement, which had actually come from America, and it was created in Washington by a small group of women who set out, who had originally been in the South of America fighting against apartheid in schools.

After they had succeeded in what they set out to do, they came back and they decided that they wanted a women’s movement of their own, and they wanted to get rid of their partners or their husbands and create this. And so, from their idea was it no longer would they be fighting capitalism along with everybody else. But they would then change the goals to what they call patriarchy. In other words, men were the enemy, not capitalism.

So this was actually extremely effective. Several of them were professors in universities, but couldn’t get tenure. So by doing this, by creating this whole new women’s movement, they also created a ring fence of opportunities in universities for women to become automatically tenured, because in the female studies, the feminist studies and the gender studies, men were not allowed to take part.

Tom Lemons:  

Wow. Okay. So this was-

Erin Pizzey:       

That’s how it started.

Tom Lemons:      

Okay, that’s how it got you started, but then you noticed something along the way that really… You started to question the motives and the agenda behind it, right?

Erin Pizzey:   

Yes, just at this point though, it was alone in Washington where it began, but it took off very, very quickly because of the promise that was made to all women across the Western world, that we would all be fighting together for equality between the sexes. Now, all of us agreed with that, including men. But what they didn’t realize as these collectives were set up in London, which I attended in late ’69, when they got to the platforms and they were lecturing to us, many of these women were actually very much involved in heavy left politics.

And one of the first things I remember on that first meeting, looking up at the stage and hearing these women saying to us, “Marriage is a dangerous place for women and children, and that the new future would be women and children, and men would be erased as fathers.” There was no need for fathers, because fathers were inherently dangerous as men. I remember my little group of women, my friends, we all looked horrified because we were happily married. I remember trying to argue and saying, “Hey, hang on a minute, you’re telling me that my husband oppresses me, but I have the luxury of being able to stay at home with my children, which is what I choose to do. So how can you tell me he’s oppressive?” And the answer to that was that I was basically blinded and uneducated into the real facts of the politics of the family.

Tom Lemons:       

So it was insulting to you and other women who were being told that, “No, you don’t know any better. You need to follow what we’re telling you.”

Erin Pizzey:     

Which is why, and this is where I became very conscious, which is why what happened was that we were all organized to go home to our houses, to create groups, to invite our friends and then learn how to raise our consciousness. We were to call ourselves converts.

I remember thinking to myself, “Hang on a minute.” Now, unusually my parents, my mother and father with my brother, my father was in the diplomatic service and he was supposed to [inaudible 00:05:16] in those days, in ’49. And the Communists came in and captured my parents and my brother, and myself and my twin sister didn’t see them for three years because they were under house arrest and we didn’t know if we’d ever see them again.

So when my mother finally came out, followed by my father, and came back to England, I had kind of knew in great detail how communism operated. And I was horrified to see that this is what I thought was being pushed across to us as innocent women. Consciousness raising is what they did in China under Mao for dissidents and people who otherwise would go to gulags and eventually concentration camps.

Tom Lemons:        

Right.

Erin Pizzey:  

So I, from the very beginning took on a huge argument with the women’s movement. And in fact, my latest book was called, This Way to the Revolution, because it was not a women’s revolution, and I kept saying this.

Well, eventually I got booted out of the whole so-called women’s liberation movement, and I went off with my friends to open what we really believed in for women, which was a small community center where we could bring our children and work at the things we were able to do, and make changes in our own communities, because that’s how we translated the idea of the women being powerful and being able to work while we had children. Because in a Western world, we’re very isolated when you have small children. So this is what happened and that was fine. And we got the house, we did it up. Women were coming from all over with children.

Men were always welcome by invitation. Then the first woman, and I’ll never, ever forget her, called Cathy, came in. She came upstairs, there was only four little rooms in this little house. She came upstairs and she walked in and she just looked at me and she took her jersey off and she was blue from her neck downwards. She said, and this was the words that absolutely skewered me. She said, “And no one will help me.”

Tom Lemons:        

Oh.

Erin Pizzey:  

Now, that took me straight back to being a child in Toronto where I was in school. And my mother had beaten me with the ironing cord the night before. I had scars all over my legs and scabs, and the teacher said, “What happened to you?” And I looked at her and I said, “My mother beat me.” And she says, “Well no wonder, you’re such an awful child.”

Tom Lemons:      

Oh, wow.

Erin Pizzey:     

But this goes back to, really from that moment on and for years later in my life, I have watched people walk away. And it isn’t as though domestic violence was a secret. All family agencies knew, all courts, all solicitors, most families knew about domestic violence, but it was an [inaudible 00:08:14], there was no discussion, there was no literature. So once Cathy came in and the news got out that there was a place to go that was safe for your protection, it was terrifying because almost overnight, my whole refuge got flooded. My problem was that it was illegal from the moment I took Cathy, because we had no rights to keep people overnight. So that the local borough, which is in charge of running the [inaudible 00:08:49] council, immediately took out warrants for my arrest. But by this time, the local newspaper had picked up on the story and as they published, more and more of the public sent us donations, which enabled us to feed and take care of the mothers and children.

The Salvation Army gave us mattresses, which we put on the floors. So the children slept on the mattresses and the moms slept with their backs on the wall and their heads on their knees. And I was incensed, everybody that was running the refuge was outraged. The local vicar said I was a marriage wrecker, and the local MPs said that they wouldn’t support us, and social services said they put perfectly good homes to go back to. And we didn’t care. We just had that open door. In my entire history of running the refuge, we never, never closed the door on mothers and children.

Tom Lemons:      

So they felt like you were interrupting and changing society by just providing a refuge for people who were going through abusive either relationships or their home life, their mothers or fathers.

Erin Pizzey:  

That’s right. The major problem was, when we tried to get public money, the welfare state to help us, and this is why the women was so trapped, because if they ran away, the only place they’d be put is the local homeless family shelter in the area they were running away from. So they’d be found almost immediately. And if you’re with a violent person, whether you’re a man or a woman, trying to get away is the most dangerous time of your relationship. So, most of those women were basically told by social workers if they tried to complain, “We will take your children and you find your own accommodation.” This is happening all over the world. So when women came into me and we went down to welfare and said, “She’s here with her children,” they would check back and the answer would come, “She’s not entitled to any money because her husband wants her back again.”

Tom Lemons: 

So that created a vicious circle to where, before you came along and created this, that women and children, men or whoever that were in these relationships, the children were forced to stay around it or be separated from their parents.

Erin Pizzey:  

And now, because there is refuge all over the world, there’s nothing much for men. Literally nothing much for men. So men are still forced into staying in violent relationship because they stay to protect their children, just as women do or did you.

Tom Lemons:

You obviously know how bad it is here in the United States. I mean we have, and again not to become super political, but we know that it is a political issue as far as it comes with the laws here, I’m sure you’re very familiar with our Violence Against Women Act, which so many believe it is such a biased and unequal law and that it basically, you stated in one of your interviews that society had began to become punitive towards boys and men, and that there was really a war on men. Is that how you feel?

Erin Pizzey:    

Well, yes, because I opened in 1971, and I was doing the questionnaires with all the mothers coming in. And of the questionnaires, I could see very clearly there were two things happening. One was women who were innocent victims of their partner’s violence coming in because they’ve made a mistake, and they come from good, warm, loving families. So they were easy to help. They just needed refuge, legal care, and then rehousing. But women really needed help were out of the 100, the 62 who violent or even more violent than the men they left. They are the ones that needed us.

Tom Lemons:      

Wow.

Erin Pizzey:       

And I tried to get that published, but you can imagine nobody would publish those figures. I tried to get Scream Quietly or The Neighbors Will Hear, which is the first book in the world on domestic violence. It took years trying to get publishers to publish it.

And it was just a huge mountain to climb each time. Now what was established was that it was nothing to do with gender. You could see from three generational interviews that it was, the roots of domestic violence is in intergenerational family dysfunction and violence. And you can trace it. I can trace my family three generations back, both sides of violent and dysfunctional behavior. And both my parents were violent and dysfunctional. So what happened was in 1974, and I almost foresaw this happening, the women’s movement in England, the feminist movement had actually run out of money because they were too extreme. And the three pounds 10 shillings you had to pay to join was drying up. And they wanted a cause and unfortunately domestic violence fell into their labs, because now they could claim as they did, that it is men who, the patriarchy, I. E. all man, who were violent and dysfunctional and were potential rapists and batterers. And they said all women are innocent victims of male violence.

Tom Lemons:          

Wow.

Erin Pizzey:  

And they, in 1974, allied to other feminist movements across the Western world, began to build this edifice, which is based on a fraudulent lie. Men and women are equally violent. It does not depend on a numbers game. It depends on what you’ve learned in your childhood.

Tom Lemons: 

Well that seems to be the big push. And I imagine it’s across the world and in different ways, but the same agenda, it seems to be the consensus around, especially here in the United States with the numbers. Like you say, they’ll always put out numbers, one in four, one in seven, these different numbers.

Erin Pizzey:     

They’re not evidence-based, and you have to remember I lived in America for six years in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And I was working and running a refuge there for a period of time, and I was also, I came over in ’73, ’74 to help set up refugees and it was interesting because Senator [inaudible 00:15:34] gave me a lunch of honor in those days on Capitol Hill. And I was having to stand up and make this speech, and I made my speech and made it clear that it was not a gender issue. And you can imagine the climate in the room. It just went icy, and I realized that it was going to be an enormous battle, because what the feminist movement, women’s liberation movement needed internationally was funding and they have funded their cause, their ideological cause, on the backs of women and children.

Tom Lemons:     

And like you were saying before, especially with politics, in the United States, it just seems as though politicians on both sides of our aisle,  the liberals and the conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, it’s one of the issues where no one will open their mouth or stand up or defend facts. It seems to be a, if there was like a political suicide, to stand up for something that is factual regarding domestic violence and it’s destroying families. And every time a group is created or people come together or anyone says anything, they’re just shunned and, and like you said, they’re-

Erin Pizzey:       

They’re silenced.

Tom Lemons:      

They’re silenced. Exactly.

 

Erin Pizzey:      

Well, I think you have to remember two things. One is that the majority of people in the Western world, women, know perfectly well that it’s not a gender issue. But [inaudible 00:17:15] and it’s been 50 years since this has been going on. And in that time, very professional organizations have taken over. For instance, the education of the police force, the education of the judiciary. And women have come into Parliament and we have a women’s minister. She’s often been a woman’s minister. She’s called the Mother of the Parliament and her name is Harriet Harman. And in one of her major policy research papers she did with two of the allies, she wrote, “Men are not necessarily harmonious to family life.” And it’s thinking like that in powerful places that have damaged men, have erased men as good, warm, loving fathers. Men have been able to be made to feel completely redundant and unnecessary.

And one of the major damages that happens is that women are then in a position where they have such power, because by definition they have the children. So parental alienation is now right, where the woman has the ability to hold a man to hostage for more money or whatever she wants. Now good normal people don’t behave like that. Most people get divorced and they make their arrangements. But what you’re dealing with is a large faction of extremely damaged women. Many of them, and I knew many of the original women who were in the women’s movement, had had bitter experiences with men and what they did is what we were all told to do. You make the personal political.

Tom Lemons:        

Right, that’s true. And it seems to be that that is the name of the game, and unfortunately the women are as much a victim in this as the men. I mean they’re just given this upper hand. And of course if the laws are leaning in your favor or the society is leaning in your favor, you’re going to take advantage of these things. And like you mentioned the courts, the parental alienation is a huge factor. I mean we have everyone believes in it and knows it exists, but the judges aren’t allowed to use it unless you have a… Well, of course it all comes to money. If you can afford to bring an expert witness and to help your case ,to prove that it’s occurring in your family. But these are very rare. But yes.

We’re going to see a film tomorrow night. It’s a premiere of a new movie. You may have heard of it, I’m not sure. It’s called Erasing Family. The director, Ginger Genteel. I interviewed her recently, but this is exactly talking about what you have been discussing, it involves parental alienation, but it’s just the destruction of families, and what to do about it and how to repair it. But you know all of this, this is something you’re fully aware about. You’ve written books on these issues. You know, what [crosstalk 00:20:32] Right, right.

Erin Pizzey:   

You know, every single book I’ve written is out of print because the woman who was my editor, she was a radical lesbian. She said, “I hate you, I hate your books.” And when she came into my life, she had them all [inaudible 00:20:51], so you can get them only secondhand on Amazon.

Tom Lemons:   

Wow.

Erin Pizzey:      

AI know, I know. But this last book, This Way To The Revolution is the book that explains exactly the amount in England, 300 million pounds a year nearly, goes to two agencies. Refuge, which is my old refuge and also the National Federations of Women’s Aid. Most of that money does not go to refuges and it does not go to women and children. It goes into edifice, huge offices, boss salaries, just as it does in America. Canada, I know very well because my mother was Canadian and I did a tour of Canada with Senator Anne Cools, and Australia I know. I have followed all this, as you can see, I’m 80 now, for 50 years and my time’s running out. And I do want before I die, for it to be understood that there has been an appalling fraudulent movement and that the real honest truth is generational family violence and dysfunction, is how and why children are actually born into these terrible concentration camps. And I used to think to myself, “It’s so unfair, because my parents chose each other for one of the bad reasons, but we never had a chance. We were born into their war.”

Tom Lemons:  

Right, right. I do want to ask you briefly, because this is something that I investigated for several years. With our own laws here on violence and the money and the billions of dollars that this industry brings in. I’ve found that with investigating some of the shelters that we have here, I just wish they were more like your idea, the way that you had envisioned them, but the shelters seem to be more a moneymaking and political boost, like a stepping stone for politicians to move up the ladder.

Erin Pizzey: 

Well, yes because they simply see the shelters as far as they’re concerned, first of all as an easy way to brainwash women who are already vulnerable. Secondly, most refuges, including America, boys over the age of 12 can’t go in because when they hit puberty, they’re coming up to be the dreaded male. And also what is very necessary is a therapeutic approach to domestic violence. None of that exists in refuges, because the answer to that is if she doesn’t kill her husband or beat him up, that’s because it’s self defense, which it’s not.

Right. There is another… I looked into our Department of Justice Inspector General’s office and I pulled some records on numerous shelters, because they’re all nonprofits here, most of them. And I found that every year there are dozens and dozens who are openly violating the law, stealing money, committing fraud, and rarely are there arrests/ It’s like it’s not making the news that all of these billions of dollars are being wasted or stolen or-

Erin Pizzey:                 

It’s true in England also. The thing is that it’s also unaccountable. There’s no research in 50 years from any of the refuge movement of any proper evidence based research on what happens in those refuges. They do very basic accounts, but nothing that is accountable and that has been allowed to happen. But you see, it’s very much the same way as society. The men who these women profess to hate. It’s the chivalry in men that protect women. Judges are totally reluctant to send women to jail. So in England, I don’t know whether it’s the same for you, but I imagine it is, if a woman is ordered by the court to let the father see the children and she disobeys it, there’s nothing that judge will do. He will not be seen to send a woman to prison.

Tom Lemons:      

Right. Yeah. That would be the end of his career as a judge.

Erin Pizzey:                  

Yeah, it would be.

Tom Lemons:    

And that is the way it is here. I mean we do see an erring on the side of caution by most judges, whether they’re elected or appointed, they just don’t want that kind of…

Erin Pizzey:         

But it’s not only that. You see, it’s extraordinary. It’s a kind of 50 years of brainwashing/ That the women, who know perfectly well because they’ve got girlfriends who are violent, they’ve got members, they know perfectly well. But majority of women who are innocent of all this have been brainwashed into believing that men are somehow dangerous.

Tom Lemons:      

Yes. And like you said, it starts at a young age. It’s almost as if society demonizes men altogether by the time they’re 18 years old.

Erin Pizzey:       

Or even before then, because in classrooms boys are not allowed to be boys. What is normal behavior is seen as bad.

Tom Lemons:  

Right. Yeah. We call it toxic masculinity is a term we hear a lot now, that masculinity is somehow evil.

Erin Pizzey:      

Well we certainly have this argument about toxic masculinity, but then you have to remember that goes back to the original brainwashing and the women’s movement. The Federations of Women have always said, if we had a society that had no men in it, the world would be a utopia, but what we can do is feminize our boys, which is where the idea of toxic masculinity comes into it. Even a young boy showing masculine attributes is now shamed, and women have very good way of dealing with men. They actually ridicule them and shame them.

Tom Lemons:         

Now, I want to know what are you planning to do from here? I don’t think you’re going to stop working forever. I mean, you are so passionate about these issues that I could see you going on, and your legacy will be amazing. I can tell you that. And before I let you go, I want you to know I would love to have you back on this show as often as you want to come back. But I do want to know, do you have anything in the works now that you’re planning? Any other big events?

Erin Pizzey:       

Well, what I’m hoping for, we have a daily newspaper called the Daily Mail, which has the biggest circulation in England. Now for the first time ever on Thursday, they’re going to do, they have a magazine which is called Female, which is in the first day edition, and they are going to do a huge spread on the group of women and it’s going to be called Women Who Fight For Men. And that’s where I think women have to go. We declared war on men 50 years ago. It’s time now for us to force that war to come to an end, because these women, these feminists don’t speak on our behalf.

Tom Lemons:        

Well if it wasn’t for women like you, people who will take a stand, who will speak up, and we do have a segment of those women here. Of course as you know, just like they’ve done to you over the years, they demonize them, they say they’re stupid, they say they’ve been brainwashed the other way. They use the same terminology and say you’re learning the wrong idea and that you’re a victim of men in general. We hate to see this topic, this domestic violence issue become a gender issue. And unfortunately that’s what has happened around the world. And I know that. [crosstalk 00:29:00] Yeah. But I do want to, again, thank you so much. And what we’ll do is, I know that I purchased your book, The Way To The Revolution, right? This Way To The Revolution.

Erin Pizzey:                  

Yes.

Tom Lemons:      

Okay. And I haven’t been able to read the entire thing, but I’ve gotten into it. It’s a wonderful book, and I am definitely going to let our viewers know that they can find these in ebook or other formats. So you can get your books if needed.

Tom Lemons:      

Absolutely. And we’re going to look into this Daily Mail, and we’re going to keep following you, and I will keep in touch with you. And I would just, again, love to have you back on our show as many times as you would like to.

Erin Pizzey:          

Thank you so much.

Tom Lemons:        

Thank you so much.

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