Editor’s note: We will be presenting the complete transcripts of all the International Conference on Men’s Issues 2014 presentations here on AVfM in the following weeks. Here is the second presentation from the first day, June 27, that of Erin Pizzey, who has devoted her life to helping violence-prone women and men.
Right. I’ve got half an hour!
Now, in the beginning, I was booted out of the Women’s Movement, and I’ve still got the letter banning me (the liberation movement) from all the collectives, because I stood up and said, if this is your intention in these huge collectives to say that the family is a dangerous place for women and children, I, for one, do not believe you. Anyway – you have nothing to do with women – there has never been a Women’s Movement. It was not a Women’s Movement. It wasn’t about women. It was about a handful of powerful Marxist women turning on men of the Left, and brilliantly deciding they would create a billion-dollar industry.
Now, at the time they were doing this, they weren’t involved at all –
(Audio lost for 13 seconds)
– Okay, I’ll shout!
So, what happened was that, for those first four years, as the women poured through the doors with their children, I realized – and partly because I’d come from a very violent, dysfunctional family, and it was my mother who was particularly cruel and violent towards me; and I carried this with me on behalf of my own brother and twin sister, that we never had a childhood, it was – we were robbed, by both our parents.
But the one thing I was very aware of is that it is a tragedy when the father is violent, but when it’s the mother, it’s a catastrophe. Because she is the – she is she carries this baby, and as the women poured into the refuge they’d say, “My baby’s not moving, my baby’s not moving.”
And I’d say to them, “Look, if you smoke a cigarette, you share it with the baby. If you drink a drink, you share it with the baby. The chemicals of rage and anxiety, you share with the baby. What do you expect the baby to do, except to stay thus and be born already wired-up damaged?” Now, MRI proves what I was saying 40 years ago.
The first hundred women that came in, 62 of them were as violent as the men they left. And what I had – trying to say this, and stand up at a time when the militant radical movement was running out of money, they could no longer actually attract women, because they were too radical, and women did not want to hear that marriage was an unsafe place for them; they didn’t want to hear that sleeping with men was sleeping with the enemy, and all the rubbish that went with that.
And so what actually happened was, that as far as the women coming in, we began to organize among ourselves because there was nobody else. And most of the women who came in who were violence-prone said, “There is a problem for me, I cannot make relationships.” And that’s absolutely true.
So as the militant women were coming in – and for them, it was a bonus, because they were looking for funding, and a just cause. What better than innocent women of men’s violence? All men, the Patriarchy. What a brilliant funding strategy. You had half the population oppressed by the other half, and you took the money off the other half to pay for it. And this has now created what is a very, very dangerous – I call it the Evil Empire; it has done more damage to relationships between men and women. And I have kept saying, if we do not stop the progress of this infiltrating all parts of everybody’s lives, including – the ideology’s become like a virus.
But to be anti-feminist is somehow to be a misogynist who hates women. It’s not anything to do with that. It is actually understanding the political movement that has come out of what was originally a therapeutic community that would give every person, men and women and children, a second chance to listen and to understand other strategies for survival. Nobody could do it for my parents, because there was nothing at that time. I knew that it needed to be done.
And as the women moved in, and expressed their violent behavior, and were violent to their children, the volunteers and the other mothers were there, and we all worked on the whole concept of what is, and how can you, mother and father your children if no one has ever taught you? And that’s exactly what I grew: a huge community.
We were – because women were pouring in from all over the country, we squatted in huge buildings, I owned an enormous hotel in Richmond, the Palm Court Hotel. It had 47 private suites, and 78 mothers and kids moved in there. We had rows of buildings that had been left empty by boroughs; we just took them over at night and left a notice on the door, and the police would come and say, “All right, it’s you.”
So we were a huge community, men, women, children, all working together. And that was my vision.
So, you could imagine what I felt when I actually – 1974 – we were sitting there and having a small conference to talk to other refuges about how they could set up and we could federate. And in marched highly organized women from across the country, and voted themselves into the National Federation of Women’s Aid – who now really own most of the refuges, shelters, in England. And Refuge, my old refuge, owned the others.
In America – I came to America in the early Seventies, and I could see what was happening: exactly the same thing. The women were scribbling Title-whatever-it-was [editorial note: Title IX. –DE], to get the money to create the Empire, on the backs of very fragile women and children. And this is going on 40 years, it’s going on and it’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And I stood back, then, and I was begging: I was saying to people, “This is a fraudulent movement, listen to what I’m saying!” And nobody would say anything; because for a long time, the media, the courts, the agencies, certainly the universities, were preaching this doctrine which was in essence a feminist-Marxist doctrine that eviscerated men off the scene.
But the same thing was going to happen; women would be putting their children, one of the demands was 24-hour nurseries; women would become the earners, men would become dispensable. And it sounded so laughable 40 years ago, nobody would believe me! Now I sit here, and I don’t think there’s anybody in this room who doesn’t believe me.
And many who, [Applause]
And why this is an historic occasion is because this is the first time I’ve ever seen this many people turn up for a discussion about men and men’s issues.
My biggest problem, actually – and this is going to be a very troublesome thing to talk about – my main problem was getting women who come from years, generations, of family violence – not only family violence, but family incest — and saying to women with their 15-year-old sons sitting on their laps wrapped together like pretzels, “Stop it! You can’t do this, this is not appropriate behavior!” Because for many women coming into the shelters and refuges, they don’t know what appropriate behavior is.
How are you supposed to know, if no one teaches you? How are you supposed to – I mean, I was an extremely violent child. I wrote my memoirs, called Infernal Child. And why would I not be a violent child, when your mother whips you with ironing cords? And you stand in front of a teacher in Canada, in Toronto, and you say, “Look at my legs,” which had actually scabbed from the blood, and she says, “Well, no wonder, you’re such a terrible child.”
And this is going on even today! How many times do you read stories of children going to school, trying to get food out of rubbish-bins with the teachers – good heavens! – ignoring it all. Because nobody wants to speak out.
Yes, there is a huge amount of very normal, ordinary people who go about their daily business and are not at all involved in what we’re talking about. But those of us who are in the belly of the beast – who have been born into it, who have had no other opportunities – these are the women I love and work with. I work with and have always worked with violent women.
And you see, this is – from the very beginning – me feeling, actually, it’s not a men’s issue. Yes, of course men are violent. Men can be as violent as each other. But if you don’t mother the mother, if you don’t teach the mother how to mother the children, and the father to father the children, what do you expect to happen? My argument was, if we can take and mother the mothers, and the fathers if they want to be included, we could empty mental hospitals and jails.
Ah, but then you come up against something else! As a resident governor said to me – she said, “Every child that’s born into a dysfunctional family is a point on my pension.” Yes! Now, I think you should frame that, because that tells you about The Beast. And it’s like bigger fleas on this body that needs the blood.
And so, what’s happening now? I can tell you what’s happening in England: If a woman is considered an unfit mother, the child is taken away from her. She then replaces the child within nine months to a year. That child is taken, and taken, and taken – and this fills the adoption quotas, this fills the children’s homes, this fills all the needs for all this huge empire that has grown round this very sad human fact – that some children are born into terrible, terrible family situations.
And when “Peter,” for instance; his mother was a prostitute, she was incestuous with him, his father sodomized him whenever he felt like it, the mother disappeared, so then he was taken into care; at 13, he strangled a boy of 11, in the bushes.
Right? Everybody was baying for his blood. He was a 13-year-old boy. Who do you put in the dock? His mother? His father? The agencies?
And when, later on, he found a woman and had three children by her, and repeated the pattern and molested his children, social workers had actually said he’d reformed! How could he reform? Nobody had put out a hand to him – they jailed him, and they punished him.
I can tell you, you cannot punish already-battered and -abused children. There is nothing that the state can do to them – even take their lives – when this is what happened to them in their childhood. And I want us to forget about blaming men or women, but actually begin to look at the judiciary, at the social services, at all the people who live off this human misery.
I’ve got a new approach, now, to men. I say, “How long have you been awake for?”
Because, as Anne said – and we work very closely together – as Anne said, it isn’t just that you lose your family, because you have a wife who has, possibly, a serious personality disorder, particularly if she’s a narcissistic exhibitionist. And there is no known cure – that is the one thing that will attract men. She’s the arm-candy. She’s the center of all of the attention, in the middle of the room, and he wants her on his arm. And then it isn’t till far too late, what I call the “mask of sanity” slips – and he’s trapped.
Now, you can take away – right, you say, “It’s her fault, she’s taken away my children, she’s told them that I’ve molested the children” – but when he turns to what he’s always believed in, when he turns to the place that he pays his taxes, and he finds that it’s corrupt. Family courts are corrupt from top to bottom in England. I don’t speak for Canada, and I know you don’t either, but I promise you – they’re secret; no decisions may ever come out of the courts. Terrible injustices are done in there. And to me, I’ve fought in those courts for 40 years. They have to be disbanded. We have to –
First of all, this whole business of battered, abused, and sexually abused people who grow up unable to make relationships. The courts can’t deal with it; they’re not set up to deal with it. The fact is – and I’m included in this – the only sanction the court has is to jail; it means nothing to me. So when they try to jail me, from Magistrates’ Court to the High Court to the House of Lords, back to acts of Magistrate’s Court to jail me – I would have been perfectly comfortable in Holloway. Anything was better than my childhood.
So I want you to understand that we need not only to disband the family courts, but also put this whole subject of battered and abused children, and the kind of therapy and the kind of care that we need to give, into the hands of the people who can really do it, who were trained to understand what’s going on. The majority of women in my refuge – the courts were part of their theater. There’s no question that anybody would tell the truth under oath.
Having said that of the 62 – the other women were innocent victims of their partners’ violence, and yes, their partners were extremely violent; in many cases, dangerous. But they were integrated human beings who had been loved, mothered, and fathered; and once given a hand up, they could move on and regain their lives.
But the work I do is with women who have come from generations of violence. I’ve always seen – and it has always been – a generational, family issue. The whole business – I’ve got, how many more minutes have I got? Five.
But the whole business of “patriarchy” and the gathering of billions and billions of dollars across the Western world, the whole business of persecuting men, of demonizing boys, of failing to educate – that has been a huge, fraudulent movement.
And we need to name names – and first on my list is Hillary Clinton. And I accuse her of being one of the leaders of this fraudulent movement; followed by Germaine Greer, by Harriet Harmon, by – Betty Friedan’s dead – but all the whole lot of them. And we need to go after them! We cannot allow this to continue. And if we don’t stop it, I don’t see a future for marriage, for love, or for anything.
And that question about marriage: I see men’s point of view. Why on earth would you take a risk that has a 90% chance of stripping you of everything you have, particularly your children?
I’m going to stop now, because I know that you’re all desperate for lunch. Thank you!
Editorial note: Our thanks to Rick Westlake for providing the raw transcript of Erin’s remarks. –DE