Erin Pizzey: “To me it was imperative that we do not end up demonising men and boys”

Erin Pizzey set up the first women’s refuge in the western world in 1971.

Her work, back then, was revolutionary as she focused on removing victims of domestic abuse from their abusers, in an attempt to break the cycle.

She says that she distanced herself from the women’s movement when she discovered feminisms’ Marxist base.  She also says that the women’s aid movement was hijacked by militant feminists.

Here’s some of what she said in my interview:

On the women’s movement…

“I joined the women’s movement, I think like an awful lot of other women across the Western World, because we were told this was going to be equity feminism… At that point in my life I had to prove I was getting married in order to get the pill. It’s those little things that I thought needed changing. I went to my first liberation meeting in Chiswick. The woman who hosted it was very hostile. As I walked up the stairs, I could see all these pictures of Mao…

She said, why are you here, I said, “My husband is away a lot and I’m lonely and isolated, I want somewhere to meet… She said, “Your problem isn’t your isolation, your problem is your husband, he oppresses you…” From that moment on, I decided I was going to find out about this movement… I realised very quickly it was very little to do with women or what we wanted… I remember these women standing on stage and saying, ‘Marriage is a dangerous place for women and children’…

On domestic violence

“I knew from the very beginning [this is a trauma issue]. I knew the time would come when I’d hear the heavy boots of the gender feminism movement, and what they’d do was tie it into the idea that all women are victims of male violence… and they’d tie it in with the word ‘patriarchy’…”

On transcending violence

“We had to learn strategies for survival… My sister was much more of a hibernator, she would implode and she’d end up with awful migraines and awful eczemas, and those stress illnesses… to me it was imperative that we do not end up demonising men and boys and creating this concept of completely weak women who had no agency and no choice…”

On her abusive mother…

She was a cold, hard, narcissistic woman… She essentially only wanted a boy child, to her horror, she had twin girls… the moment she had us she disappeared off with her luggage to visit all of her friends and just abandoned us… when either parent, particularly a mother, is a narc exhibitionist, they make very dangerous parents. For a start they can be very charismatic… but behind the front door they’re a nightmare because their rage is terrible…”

On progress…

“ What I can see now are really good green shoots… Next year, there’s going to be a conference in England. In the last few years there have been young women taking PHDs on domestic violence and looking at evidence based research. This will throw up the fraudulent misuse of money for the last 50 years…Hopefully that conference will bring it to the attention across the western world. One of the problems is that no government has ever asked the women’s movement to account for anything…”

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Corrine Barraclough has a journalism career spanning 20 years, including senior positions at national magazines in London, New York & Sydney. She embraced the whirlwind of celebrity and entertainment journalism and the heady lifestyle that went with it before walking away from it all to live on the Gold Coast and pursue a balanced life.

A new episode of The Corrine Barraclough Show discussing family law, its impact on mental health and the damage of the gender-bias in mainstream media is released every Monday morning.

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