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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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This Way To The Revolution - Part 3

Written by Erin Pizzey Tuesday, April 24, 2007 6:21 AM
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On Monday the 14th March we left the loft where we were staying with a friend and took the train to Washington. There we were to meet Dr. Harvey Taschman. After experiencing the very frightening New York sisterhood it was a relief to find ourselves in Harvey’s comfortable home and to meet his wife. Real life asserted itself and as far as I was concerned we left the ‘nasties in the woodshed’ behind us in New York.

Harvey’s invitation included a chance to show our film (without Gloria’s uninvited political comments) to the National Institute of Mental Health. There we met intelligent, respectful people who were able to listen to our concerns about the hi-jacking of the domestic violence movement for political and financial gain but even as they expressed regret, I could see that no one was going to argue with the already politicized mind set that had taken the country by storm.

What was it I wondered that caused American women to turn on their men with such fury? Many years ago Dr. Sigmund Freud very late in his life was invited to lecture in America. He wrote, upon his return, that in the future America would be facing serious problems with its women. After just forty eight hours in the country I felt the same way. There was something so alienating in the aggression of opinions that the women I met expressed their feelings. Their body language was so threatening. A movement that promised that ‘sisterhood was going to be an empowering, constructive alliance of all women’ looked to me as if it had already broken down. In its place was a fierce competitive battle to climb to the top of the greasy pole on the backs of broken husbands and partners.

After the morning meeting we were to have lunch at the House of Representatives sponsored by Congressman Steers and Congresswoman Lindy Boggs. Apparently the lunch was in my honor as the founder of the shelter movement. I stood on a terrace outside the room where the lunch was going to be held and felt a moment of enormous confusion. Here I was in Washington having lunch on Capitol Hill and back in England my staff and some of my supporters were in the High Court in the Strand listening to my barrister explaining to the Judges why I should not be jailed for overcrowding. I had hoped that by accepting an invitation to such a prestigious event the English press might use the occasion to force the powers that be in England to cease prosecuting me and for once stand beside me and support the Chiswick refuge. But I had stupidly overlooked the power of the female journalists who already were angry with my stand against the feminist movement. Nothing was reported in the British press and I was found guilty of overcrowding my refuge. Fortunately my Chairman David Astor authorized my barrister to lodge an appeal with the House of Lords so for a while I was safe.

I stood to make my speech after lunch (there was no wine because Jimmy Carter was President and he banned alcohol). I explained yet again that it was vitally important that we did not demonize the family, men and fathers. And I could see my mantra falling on deaf ears. By now I was used to eyes that for a time had been welcoming, filming over with hostility. The warm handshake upon arrival became a stiff nod of the head when I was ready to leave. I arrived at Capitol Hill on a waft of good will and I left with a cold wind behind my back.

Our next visit in the afternoon was to a Press conference. There were rows of hard faced women and virtually no men waiting for our arrival. I didn’t need to open my mouth – word was now out. I was a traitor to the cause of feminism and I was also a danger to the funding plans for this new movement. Whatever I had to say would not be reported. The female journalists were the high priestesses of the feminist movement. They had a huge hold over all sources of information. It is hard for people to realize some thirty years later that this movement brain washed and enthralled millions of women across the world into believing that if they co-operated with each other they could destroy family life and men and thereby find themselves with a glorious fulfilling life – women thought that by reaching for male power (as they defined it) they too would reap the benefits of the ‘oppressor.’

I saw marriage as a safe place for men and women. I believed then, as I do now, that biological parents living and loving each other under one roof gives children their best chance to grow up to become happy, loving adults. Of course there will be alternative family life styles but I still believe that marriage should be a benchmark and that children need both mothering and fathering. These beliefs set me at odds with the feminist movement and I had a huge schedule still ahead of me. It was hard to know that for many years ahead of me, I would face much hatred and persecution.

Copyright © 2007 Erin Pizzey, All Rights Reserved

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Copyright © 2007 Erin Pizzey, All Rights Reserved