Erin Pizzey

From Wiki 4 Men
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Erin Pizzey, in receipt of the inaugural award named after her.
27 June 2014.

Erin Patria Margaret Pizzey (born 19 February 1939) is an English family care activist and a novelist. She became internationally famous for having started one of the first[1] women's refuges (called women's shelters in Canada and the U.S.) in the modern world, Chiswick Women's Aid, in 1971,[2] the organisation known today as Refuge.[3]

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 as capable of violence as men. Pizzey has said that the threats were from militant feminists.[4][5][6]

Early life

She was born Erin Carney in Tsingtao (now Qingdao), China in 1939. Her father was a diplomat and one of 17 children from a poor Irish family.[7][8] The family moved to Shanghai and were captured by the invading Japanese Army in 1942 and exchanged for Japanese Prisoners of war.[9] Her brother Daniel Carney was also a writer, mostly known for The Wild Geese novel turned into a film.[10]


Pizzey set up a women's refuge in Belmont Terrace, Chiswick, London where abused women were offered tea, vindaloo, sympathy and a place to stay for them and their children. She later opened a number of additional shelters despite hostility from the authorities. Pizzey's crucial pioneering work and determined campaigning 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".[11]

Pizzey said that militant feminists—with the collusion of Labour's leading women—hijacked her cause and used it to try to demonise all men, not only in Britain, but internationally.[12] After the hijacking the demand for a service for women survivors of domestic violence grew and soon public funding became available [source?]. Today, Chiswick Women's Aid has been rebranded as Refuge and is a national organization that garners millions of pounds a year from a variety of sources, the primary one of which is the state. Pizzey has lamented that the movement she started had moved from the "personal to the political".

Soon after establishing her first refuge, Pizzey determined that much domestic violence was reciprocal, with both partners abusing each other in roughly equal rates. She reached this conclusion when she asked the women in her refuge about their violence, only to discover most of the women were equally as violent or more violent than their husbands. In her study "Comparative Study Of Battered Women And Violence-Prone Women,"[13] (co-researched with Dr. 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.[14][15]

In her book Prone to Violence Pizzey has argued that many of the women who took refuge had a personality such that they sought abusive relationships. Pizzey describes such behaviour as akin to addiction. She speculates that high levels of hormones and neurochemicals associated with pervasive childhood trauma lead 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. The book contains numerous stories of disturbed families alongside a discussion of the reasons why the modern state care-taking agencies are largely ineffective.

Pizzey says that it was after death threats against her, her children, her grandchildren, and the shooting of her dog, all of which she states were perpetrated by militant feminists,[16][17] that she left England for North America. She returned to London in the 1990s where her insights were sought by politicians and family pressure groups.

Current work

Pizzey is still actively working to help victims of domestic violence. From January 2007 to December 2011 she has published articles in the Daily Mail newspaper.[18] In March 2007, Erin opened the first Arab refuge for victims of domestic violence in Bahrain.[19] She has been a patron of the charity Mankind Initiative since 2008.[20]

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".[9]

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, including:

  1. "From Erin Pizzey, AVfM Editor-at-Large" published 1 January
  2. "Erin Pizzey reflects on Toronto protest" published 20 January
  3. "Aerobics – a poem by Erin Pizzey" published 27 January
  4. "Working with violent women" published 4 February
  5. "Live now on Reddit" published 14 April
  6. "Erin Pizzey live on Reddit, part 2" published 27 April
  7. "Statement from Erin Pizzey" published 20 May
  8. "Prone to Violence: Introduction and Preface" published 19 June
  9. "Prone to Violence: Chapter One" published 6 July
  10. "Prone to Violence: Chapter Two" published 10 July
  11. "Prone to Violence: Chapter Three" published 17 July
  12. "Prone to Violence: Chapter Four" published 27 July
  13. "Men’s human rights & supposed “hate speech”" published 6 August

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.[21] She announced her first interview a week prior on /r/MensRights.[22]

In May, following her promotion of the BTR podcast series the previous month, Erin also began running her own program on AVFM radio initially called "Domestic Violence Revelations with Erin Pizzey" which ran 5 episodes[23] until the title was shortened to simply "Revelations with Erin Pizzey". In "Revelations" she transitioned from doing personal readings to holding discussions with guests. Under her new format she interviewed Glen Poole and Neil Lyndon in July;[24] Geoffrey JamesTemplate:Disambiguation needed[25] and Suzanne Venker[26] in August; then Philip W. Cook,[27] Warren Farrell,[28] Attila Vinczer[29] and Mike Buchanan[30] in September. The first segment of a newer series called "Thoughts with Erin" also began in September on AVFM Radio on the "Honey Badger Radio" series, where "honey badger number one" Erin expressed her views on the show's topic of "Feminism's pimp hand" with her hosts, and mentioned having known the deceased Earl Silverman.[31]

Libel case

In 2009 Pizzey successfully sued Macmillan Publishers for libel 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.[32] The publisher also recalled and destroyed the offending version of the book, and republished it with the error removed.[33] 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."[34]

Personal life

Pizzey married Jack Pizzey, then a naval lieutenant, when she was 20, first meeting in Hong Kong. They had two children.[35] Pizzey lives in south London. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2000.[36]

In 2000 Pizzey's grandson Keita Craig, who had schizophrenia, committed suicide 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 ever to reach a finding of neglect in a suicide case.[36][37]



  • This Way to the Revolution: A Memoir
  • Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear
  • Infernal Child (an early memoir)
  • Sluts' Cookbook
  • Erin Pizzey Collects
  • Prone to violence ISBN 0-600-20551-7 Out of print
  • Wild Child
  • The Emotional Terrorist and The Violence-prone ISBN 0-88970-103-2


  • The Watershed
  • In the Shadow of the Castle
  • The Pleasure Palace (in manuscript)
  • First Lady
  • Counsul General’s Daughter
  • The Snow Leopard of Shanghai
  • Other Lovers
  • Swimming with Dolphins
  • For the Love of a Stranger
  • Kisses
  • The Wicked World of Women
  • The Fame Game (work in progress)
  • The Lifestyle of an International Best selling Author


  • 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.

See Also

This page contains information imported from the English Wikipedia. In most cases the page history will have details. If you need information on the importation and have difficulty obtaining it please contact the site administrators.



External links

Personal sites:

  1. Haven House in California was founded in 1964, seven years earlier than Pizzey's shelter (see Template:Wayback).
  2. Template:Cite book
  3. Template:Cite web
  4. Template:Cite book
  5. Template:Cite news
  6. Template:Cite news
  7. Template:Cite news
  8. The World who's who of women – Google Books
  9. 9.0 9.1 Template:Cite news
  10. We gave women back a sense of self’
  11. Template:Cite web
  12. Template:Cite news
  13. Template:Cite web
  14. Fiebert, Martin S. References Examining Assaults by Women on Their Spouses or Male Partners: An Annotated Bibliography. First published in Sexuality and Culture, 1997, 1, 273–286; updated May 2009
  15. Malcolm J. George of the Department of Physiology, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, United Kingdom.Riding the Donkey Backwards: Men as the Unacceptable Victims of Marital Violence
  16. Fox News article on Erin Pizzey
  17. Erin Pizzey's 20 March 1999 article published in The Scotsman
  18. Daily Mail 2007 article and Daily Mail articles by Erin Pizzey category 2008–11
  19. Children ‘must be protected from domestic violence’ 23 March 2007 in Gulf Daily News by Erin Pizzey (Sossandra mirror)
  20. Mankind Initiative: About Us (listed since Template:Wayback)
  21. April 2013 interviews on /r/IamA: 14th and 27th
  22. Ask Me Anything planned 6 April 2013 by Erin Pizzey
  23. DV Revelations first five:
    1. May 11
    2. 25 May
    3. June 8
    4. June 22
    5. July 6
  24. 20 July 2013 Revelations with Erin 1/6: Glen and Neil
  25. 3 August 2013 Revelations with Erin 2/7: Solaris
  26. 17 August 2013 Revelations with Erin 3/8: Suzanne Venker
  27. 7 September 2013 Revelations with Erin 4/9: Philip Cook
  28. 14 September 2013 Revelations with Erin 5/10: Warren Farrell
  29. 21 September 2013 Revelations with Erin 6/11: Attila Vinczer
  30. 28 September 2013 Revelations with Erin 7/12: Rally in Toronto
  31. 22 minutes into Honey Badger Radio 5: Feminism’s Pimp Hand (aired 13 September 2013) mentions Earl at 32m50s
  32. Template:Cite news
  33. Template:Cite news
  34. Template:Cite journal
  35. Template:Cite news
  36. 36.0 36.1 Template:Cite news
  37. Template:Cite news