Erin Pizzey interviewed in 2016
Erin Patria Margaret Carney
19 February 1939
|Alma mater||Cheikh Anta Diop University|
|Organization||Chiswick Women's Aid|
|Known for||Establishing the world's first domestic violence shelters, founding the charity Refuge|
|Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear, |
Prone to Violence
(m. 1959; div. 1976)
(m. 1980; div. 1994)
|Children||2, Cleo and Amos Pizzey|
Erin Patria Margaret Pizzey[needs IPA] (born 19 February 1939) is an English family care activist and a novelist. She is known for having started the first domestic violence shelter in the modern world, Chiswick Women's Aid, in 1971, the organization known today as Refuge. Haven House is often cited as the first women's refuge (called women's shelters in Canada and the U.S.), but at the time of their founding they only worked to help the mentally ill transition from committed life in a hospital to life in the outside world. By contrast the refuge started by Erin Pizzey was focused on removing victims of domestic abuse from their abusers, in an attempt to break the cycle.
Pizzey has been the subject of death threats and boycotts because of her research into the claim that most domestic violence is reciprocal, and that women are equally capable of violence as men. Pizzey has said that the threats were from militant feminists. She has also said that she is banned from the refuge she started.
She was born Erin Carney in Qingdao, China in 1939, along with her twin sister Rosaleen. Her father was a diplomat and one of 17 children from a poor Irish family. In 1942, the family moved to Shanghai; shortly thereafter, they were captured by the invading Japanese Army and exchanged for Japanese prisoners of war. She is the sister of writer Daniel Carney, known for his novel The Wild Geese.
Pizzey moved to Kokstad in South Africa, then at the age of five, to Beirut. At the end of the war the family went to Toronto. She then moved to Tehran and finally settled in England in 1948. Pizzey attended St Antony's junior school and then Leweston School at age 11, gaining four O-levels. Her parents were then posted to Africa where she attended Dakar University, studying French and English.
In 1959, Pizzey attended her first meeting at the UK's Women's Liberation Movement (WLM) at the Chiswick house of a local organiser, Artemis.:22 At Artemis' urging, Pizzey agreed to convene a 'consciousness-raising group' at her home in Goldhawk Road.:23 This collective became the Goldhawk Road Group.:24
The head office of the Women’s Liberation Workshop (a women's workshop within the UK's Women's Liberation Movement) was in Little Newport Street,:24 in Chinatown, Covent Garden, straddling the City of Westminster and Borough of Camden. Along with her friend Alison, and other members of her collective the Goldhawk Road Group, Pizzey found herself at odds with Artemis and Gladiator, who led a clique of younger women within the WLM Workshop head office in Little Newport Street.:27 Pizzey distanced herself from this clique when she witnessed what she described as "irregular and disrespectful behaviour" towards the money donated by desperate women across the UK.:39 Pizzey confronted them over this behaviour,:45 which according to Pizzey included claiming that telephones were tapped and labelling people they did not like as MI5, police and CIA Informers or Agents.:39 She also was concerned about overhearing discussion of plans to bomb the London store Biba; she reported on this to the police after warning the people involved. Subsequently, Pizzey became aware that the police had the group and offices under surveillance.:43 Pizzey says that she and her fellow members of the Goldhawk Road group (named after the street Pizzey lived on) were seen as trouble, because they did not accept others' behaviours and views. Erin was told she was to be watched.:34
Pizzey set up a women's refuge in Belmont Terrace, Chiswick, London in 1971 where abused women "were offered tea, sympathy and a safe place to stay" for them and their children. She later opened a number of additional shelters, despite hostility from the authorities. She gained notoriety and publicity for setting up refuges by squatting, most notably in 1975 at the Palm Court Hotel in Richmond. The original refuge in Chiswick has since been rebranded as the charity "Refuge".
Pizzey's work was widely praised at the time. In 1975 MP Jack Ashley stated in the House of Commons that "The work of Mrs. Pizzey was pioneering work of the first order. It was she who first identified the problem, who first recognised the seriousness of the situation and who first did something practical by establishing the Chiswick aid centre. As a result of that magnificent pioneering work, the whole nation has now come to appreciate the significance of the problem". Even whilst being prosecuted by local authorities (Simmons v. Pizzey) and appealing matters to The House of Lords, Erin Pizzey was recognised for her work. Lord Hailsham stated, "This appellant, and the registered charity of which she is the agent, is providing a service... which is in fact provided by no other organ of our much vaunted system of public welfare... When people come to her door... in desperate straits and at all hours... the appellant does not turn them away... but takes them in and gives them shelter... And what happens to her when she does so? She finds herself the defendant in criminal proceedings at the suit of the local authority..."
In her article for the Daily Mail, Pizzey said that "militant" feminists – with the collusion of Labour's leading women – "hijacked" her cause to "destroy family life." Pizzey said of the newly emerging establishment "I never saw Women's Aid as a movement that was hostile to men, but The National Federation, which quickly formed, made it quite clear that men were the enemy." After the alleged hijacking, the demand for a service for women survivors of domestic violence grew and soon public funding became available.:106 Pizzey has lamented that the movement she started had moved from the "personal to the political".
Soon after establishing her first refuge, Pizzey asserted that much domestic violence was reciprocal,:82 with both partners abusing each other in roughly equal measure. She reached this conclusion when she asked the women in her refuge about their violence, only to discover most of the women were equally violent or more violent than their husbands. In her study "Comparative Study of Battered Women And Violence-Prone Women," (co-researched with John Gayford of Warlingham Hospital), Pizzey distinguishes between "genuine battered women" and "violence-prone women"; the former defined as "the unwilling and innocent victim of his or her partner's violence" and the latter defined as "the unwilling victim of his or her own violence." This study reports that 62% of the sample population were more accurately described as "violence prone." Similar findings regarding the mutuality of domestic violence have been confirmed in subsequent studies.
In her book Prone to Violence, Pizzey expressed concern that so little attention was paid to the causes of interpersonal and family violence, stating, "to my amazement, nobody seemed to genuinely want to find out why violent people treat each other the way they do". She also expressed concern for the view expressed by government officials that solutions to the issue of domestic abuse and violence could be found in socialist or communist countries. Pizzey pointed out that marital violence was a great problem in Russia, and China addressed the issue by proclaiming wife-beating a crime punishable by death sentence. The book looks at what appeared to be learned behaviour, often starting in childhood, linked to hormonal responses. Pizzey describes such behaviour as akin to addiction. She speculates that high levels of hormones and neurochemicals associated with pervasive childhood trauma led to adults who repeatedly engage in violent altercations with intimate partners despite the physical, emotional, legal and financial costs, in unwitting attempts to simulate the emotional impact of traumatic childhood experiences and manifest the learned biochemical state linked to pleasure. The book contains numerous stories of disturbed families, alongside a discussion of the reasons why the modern state care-taking agencies are largely ineffective. Promotional events for the book were met with protest, and Pizzey reports that she herself and co-author Jeff Shapiro needed police protection during the promotional events for the book.
In 1981, Pizzey moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, while targeted by harassment, death threats, bomb threats and defamation campaigns, and dealing with overwork, near collapse, cardiac disease and mental strain.:275 In particular, according to Pizzey, the charity Scottish Women's Aid "made it their business to hand out leaflets claiming that [she] believed that women 'invited violence' and 'provoked male violence'". She states that the turning point was the intervention of the bomb squad, who required all of her mail to be processed by them before she could receive it, as a "controversial public figure".:282
Having moved to Santa Fe to write, Pizzey promptly became involved in running a refuge in New Mexico, as well as dealing with sexual abusers and paedophiles. Pizzey said of this work, "I discovered that there were just as many women paedophiles as there were men. Women go undetected, as usual. Working against paedophiles is a very dangerous business." Whilst living in Santa Fe, one of her dogs was shot and two others were stolen, which she claims was a result of racist neighbors. Her family suffered new harassment following the publication of her 1982 book Prone to Violence. Pizzey links much of the harassment to militant feminists and their objections to her research, findings and work. Describing the harassment, Deborah Ross of The Independent wrote that "the feminist sisterhood went bonkers".
Following the abuse and threats in Santa Fe she moved to Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands where she wrote with her husband, Jeff Shapiro. Subsequently, she moved to Siena, Italy where her writing and advocacy work continued. She returned to London in the late 1990s, homeless due to debt and in increasingly poor health. Her insights are still sought by politicians and family pressure groups.
Pizzey is still actively working to help victims of domestic violence. She has been a patron of the charity ManKind Initiative since 2004, when she received a Roger Witcomb Award. From January 2007 to December 2011 she has published articles in the Daily Mail newspaper. In March 2007, as a guest, she attended the ceremony of opening the first Arab refuge for victims of domestic violence in Bahrain.
Pizzey said in 2009 that she has "never been a feminist, because, having experienced my mother's violence, I always knew that women can be as vicious and irresponsible as men".
In 2013, she joined the editorial and advisory board of the men's rights organization A Voice for Men (serving as an Editor and DV Policy Advisor) and from January to August wrote thirteen articles for the group's web site. Only one was published 14 July the following year. None was published in the first half of 2015.
Her two April articles pertained to two interviews she gave on the Reddit community "IamA", where she promoted her Facebook page and the "AVFM Online Radio" podcast on BlogTalkRadio. She announced her first interview a week prior on /r/MensRights.
In November 2014, Pizzey became owner/manager of the AVFM WhiteRibbon.org website (since renamed Honest-Ribbon.org), which has been criticised by the original White Ribbon Campaign as "a copycat campaign articulating ... archaic views and denials about the realities of gender-based violence."
In 2009 Pizzey was successful in a libel case against sued Macmillan Publishers over content in the Andrew Marr book A History of Modern Britain. The publication had falsely claimed she had once been part of the militant group The Angry Brigade that staged bomb attacks in the 1970s. The publisher also recalled and destroyed the offending version of the book, and republished it with the error removed. The link to the Angry Brigade was made in 2001, in an interview with The Guardian, in which the article states that she was "thrown out" of the feminist movement after threatening to inform police about a planned bombing by the Angry Brigade of the clothes shop Biba. "I said that if you go on with this – they were discussing bombing Biba [the legendary department store in Kensington] – I'm going to call the police in, because I really don't believe in this."
Pizzey married Jack Pizzey in 1959. Jack Pizzey was a naval lieutenant whom she first met in Hong Kong. They had two children, a girl, Cleo and a boy, Amos. She divorced Jack Pizzey in 1976, and divorced from her second husband, Jeff Scott Shapiro, in 1994. Pizzey lives in Twickenham, south London. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2000.
In 2000, Pizzey's grandson Keita Craig, who had schizophrenia, hanged himself in a prison cell. Erin Pizzey and her family campaigned against the coroner's verdict of death by hanging and in 2001 a jury at a second inquest unanimously found that Keita's death was contributed to by the neglect of prison staff. The case was the first to reach a verdict of neglect in a suicide case.
- Pizzey, Erin (1974). Scream quietly or the neighbours will hear. Harmondsworth Baltimore: Penguin. ISBN 9780140523119. Details.
- Pizzey, Erin (1981). The slut's cook book. London: Macdonald & Co. ISBN 9780354047241. Details.
- Pizzey, Erin; Shapiro, Jeff (1982). Prone to violence. Feltham, Middlesex, England: Hamlyn. ISBN 9780600205517. Details.
- Pizzey, Erin (1983). Erin Pizzey collects-- : an anthology of her writing, personally introduced. Feltham, Middlesex, England: Hamlyn. ISBN 9780600206866. Details.
- Pizzey, Erin (1995). Wild child: an autobiography. Siena: Erin Pizzey. ISBN 9788890009600. Details.
- Pizzey, Erin (1998). The emotional terrorist and the violence-prone. Ottawa: Commoners' Pub. ISBN 9780889701038. Details.
- Pizzey, Erin (2005). Infernal child: world without love. Twickenham: Little Hermit. ISBN 9780954000219. Details.
- Pizzey, Erin (2011). This way to the revolution: a memoir. London Chicago: Peter Owen. ISBN 9780720613605. Details.
- The Watershed
- In the Shadow of the Castle
- First Lady
- The Consul General's Daughter
- The Snow Leopard of Shanghai
- Other Lovers
- Swimming with Dolphins
- For the Love of a Stranger
- The Wicked World of Women
- The Emotional Terrorist And The Violence-Prone
- Infernal Child: World without Love
- This Way to the Revolution: A Memoir
- International Order of Volunteers For Peace, Diploma of Honour (Italy) 1981.
- Nancy Astor Award for Journalism 1983.
- World Congress of Victimology (San Francisco) 1987 – Distinguished Leadership Award.
- St. Valentino Palm d'Oro International Award for Literature, 14 February 1994, Italy.
- "35 Refuge and domestic violence facts". Archived from the original on 22 June 2006. Retrieved 28 December 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Rappaport, Helen (2001). "Pizzey, Erin (1939– ) United Kingdom". Encyclopedia of women social reformers. 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 549. ISBN 978-1-57607-101-4.
In 1972 the center was visited by U.S. feminists, who set up similar ventures in the United States ...
- "About Haven House". Archived from the original on 21 April 2009Haven House in California was founded in 1964, seven years earlier than Pizzey's shelter
- Philip W. Cook (2009). Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence. ABC-CLIO. pp. 123–4. ISBN 978-0-313-35618-6.
- Ross, Deborah (10 March 1997). "Battered? Erin Pizzey? Yes, a bit". The Independent. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014.
- Pizzey, Erin (30 March 1999). "Who's failing the family". The Scotsman (via fathersforlife.org). Archived from the original on 22 January 2017.
- "We gave women back a sense of self". Richmond and Twickenham Times. 29 March 2004. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Arndt, Bettina (29 October 2016). "Cassie Jaye's Red Pill too truthful for feminists to tolerate". The Australian. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- Staff writer (1990), "SHAPIRO Erin Patria Margaret (Pizzey)", in Kay, Ernest (ed.), World Who's Who of Women 1990/91, 10, Cambridge, England: Taylor & Francis, p. 747, ISBN 9780948875106. Preview.
- Pizzey, Erin (24 September 2009). "Why I loathe feminism ... and believe it will ultimately destroy the family". Daily Mail. London: Associated Newspapers Ltd.
- Sargon of Akkad; Erin Pizzey (2 November 2015). Interview with Erin Pizzey. Sargon of Akkad Livestreams. YouTube.com. Event occurs at 3:20.[permanent dead link]
- "We gave women back a sense of self". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Newsquest Media Group. 29 March 2004.
- "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Erin Pizzey, women's refuge". 7 February 2008.
- Pizzey, Erin (2011). This way to the revolution: a memoir. London Chicago: Peter Owen. ISBN 9780720613605. Details.
- Pizzey, Erin (15 December 2011). "To say emotional abuse is as bad as violence insults every battered wife". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers Ltd.
- Renzetti, Claire M.; Edleson, Jeffrey L. (2008). Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence. SAGE Publications. pp. 126–127. ISBN 978-1-4522-6591-9.
- "Battered Wives Occupy Home". The Miami News. 11 November 1975. p. 2A, Col 1.[dead link]
- Social Work Today: Journal of the British Association of Social Workers. British Association of Social Workers. 1975. p. 596. Preview.
- "Battered wives (rights to possession of matrimonial home) bill". Hansard. 11 July 1975. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- Hoath, David C. (March 1978). "Notes on Cases (A Charitable Crime: Simmons v. Pizzey)". Modern Law Review. 41 (2): 195–196. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2230.1978.tb00797.x. JSTOR 1094895. Pdf.
- Pizzey, Erin (22 January 2007). "How feminists tried to destroy the family". Daily Mail. London: Associated Newspapers Ltd.
- Pizzey, Erin; Shapiro, Jeff (1982), "Introduction", in Pizzey, Erin; Shapiro, Jeff (eds.), Prone to violence, Hamlyn, p. 13, ISBN 9780600205517.
- Pizzey, Erin (2000), "From the personal to the political", in Pizzey, Erin; Shackleton, J.R.; Urwin, Peter (eds.), Women or men - who are the victims?, London: Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society, p. 31, ISBN 9781903386095. Pdf.
- Erin Pizzey (20 January 2014). Erin Pizzey on Feminism (Video). HumanityBites.
- Pizzey, Erin (2000). "A comparative study of battered women and violence-prone women". dvmen.org. The Equal Justice Foundation (Domestic Violence Against Men in Colorado). Archived from the original on 25 March 2016.
- Fiebert, Martin S. (June 2012). "References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography". csulb.edu. California State University, Long Beach.
- First published as: Fiebert, Martin S. (1997). "References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography". Sexuality and Culture. 1: 273–286.
- Second version published as: Fiebert, Martin S. (June 2004). "References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography". Sexuality and Culture. 8 (3–4): 140–176. doi:10.1007/s12119-004-1001-6.
- Third version published as: Fiebert, Martin S. (March 2010). "References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography". Sexuality and Culture. 14 (1): 49–91. doi:10.1007/s12119-009-9059-9.
- Fourth version published as: Fiebert, Martin S. (June 2014). "References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography". Sexuality and Culture. 18 (2): 405–467. doi:10.1007/s12119-013-9194-1. Available to download as a word document here.
- George, Malcolm J. (June 2004). "Riding the donkey backwards: men as the unacceptable victims of marital violence". The Journal of Men's Studies. 3 (2): 137–159. doi:10.1177/106082659400300203. Pdf.
- Pizzey, Erin; Shapiro, Jeff (1982), "The way we see it", in Pizzey, Erin; Shapiro, Jeff (eds.), Prone to violence, Feltham, Middlesex, England: Hamlyn, p. 19, ISBN 9780600205517 Details.
- Bateman, Derek (26 October 1982). "Women denounce pain addiction book". The Glasgow Herald. p. 6.
- Pizzey, Erin (9 April 2000). "Why did my grandson die?". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 30 September 2015.
- McElroy, Wendy (30 May 2006). "Feminists deny truth on domestic violence". Fox News. Fox News Network. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
- The Cayman Islands Yearbook and Business Directory. Cayman Free Press. 1990. p. 43. Details.
- "News/Events – Roger Witcomb awards ceremony". Archived from the original on 6 December 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Pizzey, Erin (23 March 2007). "Children 'must be protected from domestic violence'". Gulf Daily News. (Sossandra Mirror.)
- April 2013 interviews on /r/IamA: 14th and 27th
- Ask Me Anything planned 6 April 2013 by Erin Pizzey
- "WhiteRibbon.org – Ending violence Against Everyone". whiteribbon.org. 2015. Archived from the original on 11 November 2014.
- Filipovic, Jill (24 October 2014). "Why Is an Anti-Feminist Website Impersonating a Domestic Violence Organization?". Cosmopolitan. Hearst Communications. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- Jones, Clay (23 October 2014). "White Ribbon Copycat Statement". WhiteRibbon.ca. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014.
- "Campaigner accepts libel damages". BBC.co.uk. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
- Adams, Stephen (1 April 2009). "Andrew Marr's publisher pays 'significant' damages to women's campaigner". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- Rabinovitch, Dina (26 November 2001). "Domestic violence can't be a gender issue". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
- Hoyle, Antonia (5 April 2009). "Erin Pizzey: When Andrew Marr accused me of being a terrorist, it was like a bomb going off in my chest". Daily Mail. London.
- "Pizzey calls for more domestic abuse shelters". Richmond and Twickenham Times.
- "Prison neglect 'contributed to suicide'". BBC News. 11 October 2001.
- Helen Rappaport (2001). Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers. ABC-CLIO. p. 550. ISBN 978-1-57607-101-4.