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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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Why Are We Not Asking The Right Questions?

Written by Erin Pizzey Sunday, July 13, 2008 10:12 AM
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Seventeen teenagers commited suicide in Bridgend, South Wales. Nineteen teenagers have been stabbed to death this year in England. There are very faint brave voices trying to get across the message that the primary responsibility for the violence in the children across the Western world is the destruction of the family.

Millions of hysterical words are written everyday in the newspapers internationally trying to address the problem of children who kill or kill themselves. In Wales a mother sits in front of television cameras and argues that her son died because the media glorifies the suicides that have taken place and the responsibility of her son’s death lies in the hands of journalists and television cameras. There is no acknowledgement that the primary responsibility for the actions of children must lie in their parenting. Warm, loving, harmonious families very rarely produce murderers and suicides. I believe that dysfunctional, violent and sexually abusive families produce the bulk of all crimes and suicides across the world.

A few brave voices have been raised in England arguing for a closer look at the families that have lost their children in Bridgend. The same voices have questioned the families of the 19 teenagers who have stabbed the victims to death in England this year. There is an almost poisonous miasma of fear around these questions. There is a conspiracy of silence but looking beneath the bully culture of politically correct opinion, I think I can see why the conspiracy is in place.

Men, for the last forty years have been shunted out of family life as a matter of political policy. In the early years of the radical women’s movement across the Western world, the new family order was touted to be women and their children. Fathers became expendable as the State took the traditional responsibility for fathering away from men. The courts could remove the men from their homes and take large sums of money from the fathers, and should the man be without means to pay, the State could fund the woman and her children. Either way, the father’s role within the family was redundant.

In 1971 mine was the only refuge dedicated to the plight of victims of domestic violence. Even then I made it clear that women could be just as violent as men. However, once the courts were made aware that the cases coming up in front of them from our refuge were genuine and that the violence the women and children suffered from the men in these families required drastic measures, the courts responded appropriately.

What caused the controversy and my persecution was my evidence that many of the women in the refuge were violent and were unacceptably violent towards their children. Even if I managed to stop the violent man from re-entering the children’s lives because he was a danger to them and to their mother this still left me with the dilemma of the violent and dysfunctional mother. This is when my concept of the need for a therapeutic community was born.

Those of you who have followed my work will know that almost immediately I set up the refuge for women and children, I also managed to find a house at a pepper corn rent for men. I was unable to raise any funds from any source to support the need of fathers fleeing violent women or even to support men who wanted to come to terms with their violent past.

In the intervening years I watched the break down of marriages, the rise of the single parent and the state subsidy of a single parent life style. Certainly, I was grateful to the state in England for the money. Women fleeing violent relationships before I opened the refuge were told to go back to their partners. Now it was possible to get support for victims of violence and for women abandoned by their partners. What I had not envisaged at that time is that the well meaning and compassionate support given to victims would result in the creation of a social upheaval that completely redesigned the structure of our society.

I was despised and ridiculed from the very beginning of my work for daring to talk about the role of violent women in the families that came to my refuge. In the very early days the militant left blamed ‘capitalists’ i.e. rich men for all the ills of society. By the beginning of the seventies women turned on all men and blamed ‘patriarchy’ for everything. What was left out of the equation as usual was the role of women in wrong doing. As women and particularly as mothers, women were exempt from any wrong doing.

As men were either pushed out of their families or were feckless and abandoned their partners and children, an army of single parent mothers and children grew into unimaginable proportions. The majority of women suffered and tried their best to raise their children on miniscule amounts of money allowed by the state. They were only too aware of the strains of raising their children single handed without fathers. However, many women were as feckless as the men they chose as partners. Unable to prioritize the needs of their children, promiscuous and often violent, they terrorized their children and their neighbourhoods.

Many times I have talked with exhausted social workers about what is happening on the vast estates across England to the families without fathers. Some homes do have fathers but most have not. They are very dangerous places and when fragile innocent women find themselves rehoused on those estates the prognosis for the family is dire. They are discriminated against and their children are bullied and harassed. In my day social workers called the dysfunctional families ‘dustbin families’ now the pc words are ‘socially excluded’ and less pc ‘the underclass.’

We are guilty of the burgeoning ‘underclasses.’ Successive governments have ignored these families at their peril. I did a small study many years ago counting the children that my violence prone mothers brought through the door. In those days the average was 2.1 children per family. In my families I could point to 5.1. children. Because most of the women were promiscuous, many of the children had different fathers. Hoping to hold on to a man resulted in the woman trying to carry his child. I warned then that in time those ‘feral’ children who were denied good loving parents, decent education and job opportunities would flood our streets.

In fact this is what is happening now. While it is the boys that largely murder, maim and commit suicide, the role of the girls on the streets is just as abused and abusive. The ‘gang culture’ is now the ‘family’ for children alienated and excluded from their families and from their schools. For the children denied good role models from their absent fathers, many are also deprived of any love, warmth or protection from their mothers. Is it any wonder that they join gangs that become surrogate families?

After the death of my mother when I was seventeen, I ran away from my family and ended up in a hostel in London. Very soon I discovered a gang of young teenagers living on the embankment and before long I joined them. It was a different time and place. There was some violence but not amongst our teenagers. I remember with great affection all those young teenagers who, like me, had suffered in their parent’s hands. They understood me and I understood them. We took care of each other, something that had not happened in my life. I can well understand the ‘gang culture.’

A child like me who was hated by my mother and disliked by my father would naturally find solace in a gang of other children. To the outsider the gang-related violence is abhorrent. To the teenagers in the gang it is normal. Why not? If all your life you have been beaten and have watched your parents beating each other, the violence has long become a way of life. ‘But surely,’ the well meaning say, ‘But surely if you’ve spent your childhood in a violent family the one thing you would not want to do is to repeat it.’ Violence is a learned pattern of behaviour in early childhood. These teenagers are ‘marinated in violence,’ a wonderful description I read in the work of Dr. Bruce Perry. Most will continue the violence they witnessed and suffered as children, a few will ‘transcend’ the violence and make good their lives.

Although I believe that a dysfunctional and feckless father in a family is a tragedy, I also believe that when the mother is unable to mother her children and is violent towards them and unable to offer them love and approval, then the effect on her children is truly catastrophic. We now know that young babies’ brains are plastic and much of the brain is formed by the very early experience that the child assimilates from the primary carers. In my families, fighting, screaming, throwing of objects, swearing and using knives and other weapons constituted a ‘normal’ life for the children that came to my refuge. I also noticed that while the boys showed much greater signs of physical aggression and explosive behaviour, the girls responded by imploding with anger. They mutilated themselves, suffered from eating disorders and bullied the younger, weaker children.

Until we are able to discuss the lack of both mothering and fathering in these children’s lives, the violence on our streets will continue. Until mothers are also held responsible for their behaviour towards their children we will not see much change. It is probably too late for millions of feral teenagers in England. The only chance they have is if the government of the day decide to reintroduce a form of National Service. All children from the age of sixteen to eighteen who are not taking a place in higher education must join up. I remember my cousin Michael who was orphaned at a very young age. He left school and was on a hopelessly downward trajectory. I also remember seeing him arrive at our front door with a friend both scrubbed and polished in their army uniforms. Saved by two years structured and disciplined living, he went on to become a successful business man and father. National Service saved a generation of children in the fifties and it could save this generation if we ignore the limp protests of the liberal brigade and get on with the business of saving our fractured society.

Copyright © 2008 Erin Pizzey, All Rights Reserved

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6 Responses to “Why Are We Not Asking The Right Questions?”

  1. Andromeda Says:

    National Service seems a very high-maintenace solution.

    Below is a lower-maintenace but very politically incorrect solution.


    We all know that there is widespread flouting of the law relating to the age of consent. Many parents, even middle class ones who consider themselves respectable, responsible and caring, allow their children to have underaged sex and prefer to turn a blind eye, rather than confront them, “because they are going to do it anyway. As long as they practice safe sex and don’t get pregnant, that is the best we can hope for.”


    Because failures of contraception occur most often amongst inexperienced users, in this case those who have just become sexually active. It leads to teenage pregnancy, single motherhood and, inevitably, educational under-achievement. It also encourages promiscuity which leads to family breakdown with its attendant societal costs.


    Family breakdown causes poverty, promiscuity, crime, welfare-dependency, educational under-achievement and the intellectual and material impoverishment of what was once a great nation.

    It has led to Britain’s addiction to a cheaper foreign labour force, who are universally acknowledged by British employers to be better than home-grown employees. This works against the interests of those who are born and educated here but who are inadequately schooled, illiterate, innumerate, illegitimate, who are binge-drinking, drug-addicted, promiscuous and lead a life of welfare dependency that those in work and paying taxes are expected to sponsor ad nauseam.

    This also works in the interests of parties like the BNP and the NF the longer this problem is not dealt with honestly, decisively and effectively.

    It is of course the Nanny State which is to blame, but it is the sacred cow that most Britons are unable to contemplate slaying. After so many generations of worship, such a suggestion tends to be received with the same degree of enthusiasm as you would expect from filial children invited to contemplate matricide.


    Family breakdown is a vicious circle that gets bigger with each unwanted pregnancy and with each generation of singly-parented children. Soon there will be more who are illegitimate than legitimate and that will be when the lunatics will have taken over the asylum.


    Obviously, it would be impractical to prosecute every teenager who has sex while below the age of consent, but it would NOT be impractical to

    (a) deprive a single mother of child benefit if she cannot produce a marriage certificate
    (b) fine the single mother for producing an illegitimate baby, say £1000, if she does not name the father
    (c) require her parent(s) to pay this sum if she cannot or will not
    (d) fine the father of an illegitimate child a sum of money, say £1000
    (e) require the parent(s) of that father to pay this sum if he cannot pay it himself
    (f) require that the mother give up the child for adoption before more lives are ruined

    In one fell swoop would the problem be solved by these measures, which will have the effect of encouraging greater parental interest in controlling their offspring.

    Justice Coleridge has mentioned the “cancerous increase” in family breakdowns and said that the collapse is at a scale and severity that would have been unimaginable even 10 years ago.

    “What is certain is that almost all of society’s social ills can be traced directly to the collapse of the family life,” he said.

    However, Mr Justice Coleridge, who heads family courts in the south west of England, did not criticise single parents directly.

    “I am not saying every broken family produces dysfunctional children but I am saying that almost every dysfunctional child is the product of a broken family. “And what is government doing to recognise and face up to the emerging situation? The answer is: very little and nothing like enough.

    “It is fiddling whilst Rome burns.”

    Vote: Should the measures proposed in (a) to (f) be adopted to purge the scourge of family breakdown?


    to vote and comment on this proposal.

  2. Andromeda Says:

    May I recommend Kathleen Parker’s book SAVE THE MALES: WHY MEN MATTER, WHY WOMEN SHOULD CARE

  3. KARMA Says:

    Well millions of GEN X and Y woman will be old, barren, lonely and with their cats, because men do not trust them.If the femi-zasi think they have one the war they are delusional.The war has just begun.The marriage strike will go one for at least 30 more years.Many - not all - women do not realise how serious men are about staying single.

  4. Peter Says:

    Hi Erin,
    I have read lots of your materials…you helped me get onto the track of the communist and soviet involvement in injecting feminism into the west via Herbert Marcuse and Betty Friedman. Feel free to join us at Please be aware we do not observe the niceties of ’speaking in front of women’ there…we speak as men to men….we are building up a community.

    Your assessment is correct…all the stats show it..all the annecdotal evidence shows it. Women are going to be killed, raped, robbed and generally abused in vastly increasing numbers as these uncontrollable boys raised by single women realise that the average bystander will no longer intervene if they abuse a girl/woman in the street. You have my email…I am also posting some of your aticles on blogs at We are working on ‘waking men up’….awareness is what is needed…..if women do not assist men stop feminism and take the step from ‘adversarial’ to ‘enemy’ it is going to get very ugly for women in the future. Perhaps as a woman you can let your fellow women know….and please keep up your great work publishing articles like this. I will spread them as far and wide as I can.

  5. Dianna Bonner Says:

    Hi Erin

    Hope you don’t mind me sending you a personal message here.

    I used to live in Chiswick until recently and saw that you just had a birthday on Chiswick W4 newsletter and the followed links and read about all the things you have done. I am a local photographer and would love to take some complimentary shots of you as a birthday present or just meet with you sometime for a coffee if you ever have any spare time!

    I am not in an abusive relationship but am interested in your work and hope to make a difference with my photography one of these days soon!

    All the best


    0771 888 1768
    0208 580 1652

  6. Alex Says:

    Dear Erin,
    I went to Chiswick Comp in the early ’70s and often walked past the Chiswick refuge on the way home. It seemed like a ghost house. Bleak. Frightening. Mysterious.
    All those open windows. No one had THAT many open windows. Best kept away-from!
    The 27, 117 and 267 buses passed by. I knew Chiswick well.
    I was clueless, impressionable, but observant.
    And now, nearly 40 years later, I read the most extraordinary things written by the august EP. And, in the early 70s, you were august. Even among spotty little teenagers.
    “That’s the women’s refuge run by Erin Pizzey, wife of the TV bloke.”
    But in 2009 I see that you’ve got only five replies to your blog above. The fifth in February of this year. And now mine; the sixth, 17 months after you posted.
    That’s is no criticism of you, Erin. As if you’d need to care!
    But it is a statement of the times in which we live. Global mega-trends are not yet running your way. But they will. One day. In a couple of generations from now. Take a very deep breath. Train you grandchildren to “think different”.
    Apart from the remedy of “national service”, your analysis is right. And guess what: I, a right-wing, fundamentalist, bigoted, Bible-believing Christian believe — as do you — that marriage needs to be re-invented.
    And so do my four home-educated children (except that they wish to live and work anywhere but pagan, secular-humanistic Britain. One, 22, lives in S Africa; another, 20, lives in Italy.
    Converting the world. Really!
    Anyway, I enjoyed your piece.
    And if ever you’re passing Luppitt (look up Triplands), please drop in.
    It’d would be a joy!

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Copyright © 2008 Erin Pizzey, All Rights Reserved