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History – Domestic violence researcher and founder of modern domestic violence movement, and her young family threatened.

July 26, 2011

Catalogue – Erin Prizzey started the domestic violence movement and continues to work towards an evidence based, egalitarian treatment for family violence.

From Erin’s wiki page.

She began in Belmont Terrace, Chiswick, West London where abused women were offered tea, sympathy and a place to stay for them and their children. Pizzey 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”.[7]

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.[8] After the hijacking the demand for a service for women survivors of domestic violence grew and soon public funding became available. Today the movement has been rebranded as Women’s Aid and 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 realised 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 and she concluded that 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,”[9] (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 most domestic violence have been confirmed in hundreds of subsequent studies.[10][11]

In her book Prone to Violence (full text available online) 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.

Some internet sources make the claim that Prone to Violence was suppressed by feminists, citing a 1996 search of all libraries in the world that could be accessed from the US <a title="Library
of Congress” href=””>Library of Congress through the Inter-Library Network that allegedly revealed a total of only thirteen listings worldwide. A 2010 WorldCat search shows that at least 43 libraries in the world hold the book.[12]

Pizzey says it was after death threats against her, her children, her grandchildren, and the killing of her dog, all of which she states were perpetrated by feminist activists, [13][14] 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. She is a patron of the charity Mankind Initiative.

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