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In 1971 Erin Pizzey founded Chiswick Women's Aid, the first refuge for battered wives. Her 1974 book "Scream Quietly or the Neighbors Will Hear" brought the issue to the attention of the public.

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Letter to Sen. Lugar Opposing I-VAWA

Written by Erin Pizzey Tuesday, March 13, 2007 1:33 PM
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Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 1:33 PM
Subject: domestic violence

In 1971 I opened the first refuge in the world in Chiswick, London. I said then that domestic violence is a learned pattern of behaviour in early childhood. I also explained that boys and girls exposed to violent and dysfunctional parents often internalise the parent’s behaviour and go on to also lead violent and dysfunctional lives.

Unfortunately at that time the feminist movement was looking for a cause and funding. They had a feminist/Marxist focus on domestic violence that claimed that all men (patriarchy) were guilty of violence towards women and children. They also claimed that the family and marriage was a dangerous place for women and that the ‘new’ family in the future would consist of women and their children. Men and fathers were expendable.

Unfortunately in the Western world we have seen the damage that has been done to family life in our countries. The Shelter movement particularly in America has totally ignored the plight of boys and men who can also be exposed to domestic violence.

Men are banned from working in the shelters and often boys over the age of twelve are denied access with their mothers and siblings. No men can sit on the Boards of these Shelters.

In the early years I toured America on many occasions begging audiences not to create a movement hostile to men, fathers and boys. I failed.

Please reconsider your ideas. To export what is a crude feminist ideology to the rest of the world does your country and yourself a great disservice.

The roots of domestic violence lie in our parenting. If we educate parents about the dangers of behaving violently towards their children - we will change the course of those children’s lives.

Both mothers and fathers can be violent - we need to acknowledge this. Domestic violence is not a gender issue. It affects us all.

I enclose a c.v. of my work.

Next week I am going to the Middle East to open one of the first Arab refuges in that part of the world. I will beg the people concerned not to make the same mistakes that their Western sisters have made.

Copyright © 2007 Erin Pizzey, All Rights Reserved

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Copyright © 2007 Erin Pizzey, All Rights Reserved