The Erin Pizzey Interview —Dads On The Air, Sydney, Australia

© 2007 Dads on the Air

Reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.


 

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Transcript of the interview with Erin Pizzey — May 22, 2007.
Interviewed by John Stapleton, Ian Purdie, Peter van de Voorde and Greg Andersen.

Stapleton: We're going to be talking with Erin Pizzey. This is an historic moment for Dads on the Air. Erin Pizzey is a world-renowned specialist on gender issues, a world-renowned commentator. She's written a number of books including Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear and a very controversial book Prone to Violence which caused an enormous uproar when it was first published. She was picketed by feminists and had a huge outcry against that book. She's also received a huge number of awards over the years and written a large number of articles on the issues that we so often talk about on this radio program, including "Domestic Violence is Not a Gender Issue," "The Planned Destruction of the Family," and most recently a very controversial article in the Daily Mail "How Feminists Tried to Destroy the Family." Welcome to the show Erin Pizzey.

Pizzey: Hello.

Stapleton: Very good to have you on.

Pizzey: Thank you.

Stapleton: I gather you've just been to Bahrain. I wondered if you could first talk about that. You were opening a domestic violence refuge there.

Pizzey: Yes, what happened is several years ago I was asked by Shirley Yateem who's family put the money up for a refuge. Her mother-in-law was very well known in the Arab world. She was a very early feminist in the sense that she opened the first club for Bahraini women to meet outside their houses, which was unheard of in those days. When she died, her husband Hussain, who is a lovely man, decided with the family that what they would like to do, knowing of the problems in the Arab world, was to open a refuge. So two years later, last month, I came back from Bahrain having opened it. The Queen of Bahrain was there, and for the first time the entire subject of domestic violence was publicly discussed and reported in all the Arab newspapers across the Arab world because it's the first and it's an enormously important step forward. I think the thing that consoled me from the very beginning is that because they had never been brainwashed by the whole feminist movement there was no attitude of hostility towards men, so I was able to say from the very beginning when I opened the refuge in 1971, and it was the only one of its kind in the world, that I'd said that many of the women coming in were violent themselves or more violent than the men they left, and this was the beginning of this huge split that's overshadowed the movement across the world for the last 36 years.

Stapleton: Have you ever regretted being...well you're the most famous I guess for opening the very first battered woman's refuge in the world. Have you ever [laughs] kind of wished you hadn't done it or life had taken a different path?

Pizzey: Well, yes, I mean obviously, I mean I had this vision of...because I came from a violent family and both my mother and father were violent, actually if anything my mother was a great deal crueller than my father. He was a bully and we were very frightened of him but she was the one that actually did the battering, particularly of me, because I looked like him. So I always opened the refuge with a completely open understanding of what domestic violence does to children. The tragedy of it all was that at the same time in 1971, the women's movement, the feminist movement had just been imported directly from America and women across the country leapt on to the barricades, and these were largely Marxist Feminists who then said well the enemy wasn't capitalism any more, the enemy was actually men — the patriarchy. So I knew when I opened the refuge that they would come and try and hijack the whole subject, which they did because they were enormously highly organized.

Stapleton : It is incredible here the amount of money, and just the way they dominate the entire debate, the entire public debate.

Pizzey: Well because you see the trouble was in those very early days I was this very lone voice saying "Hey, hang on, wait a minute, this has nothing to do with domestic violence, this is the feminist movement which is basically hijacking the subject because it is a worthy cause" in their terms, and also they wanted the funding because they couldn't get funding as open feminists, but what they have managed to do is to turn it into a billion-dollar industry, which has effectively destroyed family life in the Western world and feminized the courts, the law, everything else in its wake. And the result is that there's millions of men who have been falsely accused, who have lost their children, who have been extradited from their families. I suppose the major problem I have is — and I've worked with men's groups all over the world, whether it's Canada, or America, or here, or Bermuda for instance, but men do not get together and organize themselves over emotional issues.

Stapleton: No they most certainly do not. They tend to crawl off under a rock or into their cave basically.

Pizzey: Well what they do is they...it's because in a sense I think this is the first time in the history of the world. Men have been so attacked in their emotional lives, they don't actually know how to relate to each other.

Stapleton: No, that's quite possibly true. You must have been an incredibly isolated voice to start off with.

Pizzey: I was. I was. And very frightened a lot of the time. I mean it got to such a ridiculous pitch that anywhere I spoke I was picketed and then people would scream at me while I was speaking whether I was in England or America or wherever. What I'm doing at the moment, I have a blog, and if you type Erin Pizzey into Google and then type this way to the revolution you can follow what I'm saying because what was so lonely was that if I tried to explain it to anybody it was so complicated they would just not listen or just say "you're paranoid" but now I think there's sufficient amount of men who have suffered internationally for them to begin to realize what I was saying was actually the truth. I opened the refuge. It wasn't supposed to be a refuge. It was supposed to be a small community centre for women who were isolated with their children like I was. I was married but my husband was a television reporter so I didn't see him very much. A small community centre we could get together and work on the things that were necessary for women in our community because that was my version of what I thought feminism should be about, working in harmony with men. But of course that was ludicrous, that isn't anything to do with what the feminist movement was about. So what happened was that when that first woman came in, Kathy, and took off her jersey and showed me her bruises, I immediately understood what she said when she said "No-one will help me," but I didn't understand her in a sense as an adult. I understood the child because I was the child in Montreal standing in front of a teacher with blood running down my legs from a whipping my mother had given me with an ironing cord, saying "Please will you help me," and the teacher looked at me and just said "I don't blame your mother for beating you, you're such a terrible child." And I have since written a memoir called Infernal Child — you can get it on Amazon — and this is the story of what it is like to be a child in a warring family. And the thing that hurt me most is because the women's movement hijacked this entire subject and made it all about women for so many years, no-one ever talked until recently about the effect it's having on children.

Stapleton: And the debate really still hasn't switched very much has it?

Pizzey: Well no, because it's still you see the women in 1971 when I started, the younger women, who are now in corridors of power in England — Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewett, they're all in the government. And so how are we ever going to get anything through because their argument, and even though it's proved wrong, even though we know that within the domestic violence sphere, violence is about equal. I'm not interested in discussions about how many men hit women or how many women hit men because it's quite simple. If children are born into violent families, both boys and girls will be infected. Some will transcend, but I believe that boys are far more disadvantaged and destroyed by domestic violence than girls. Girls seem to be a lot more resilient.

Stapleton: Why do you say that?

Pizzey: Well because simply by taking in...I was taking in for a long time over a thousand mothers and children a year because I had a very huge project, and I was noticing the difference between the small boys coming in, the children coming in, and the violence — explosive violence — of the boys and although the girls were similarly affected by violence they handled it far more differently. I don't know why it is, but you know what I also noticed, where the father's violent it's an absolute tragedy, but when the mother's violent it's catastrophic.

Andersen: Do you think that perhaps the little girls have an emotional language which enables them to maybe express some their feelings whereas the boys maybe bottle it up and then explode. Do you think there might be something there?

Pizzey: I think both things. I think girls are much more likely to analyze what's happening in the family and discuss it with each other and discuss it with adults, whereas boys don't. Boys are — there is a chivalrous gene in boys — they do not discuss. They are very, very loyal, particularly to their mothers.

Stapleton: No matter what that mother does.

Pizzey: Yes. It's amazing. It's absolutely amazing.

Andersen: And those boys grow up to be members of parliament...

Pizzey: ...and judges...

Andersen: ...and probably the same chivalrous gene is still there.

Pizzey: It's still there, yes.

Stapleton: So you've see the development of this right the way through from the beginning. Could have ever imagined way back in the 1970s that we would reach the state we are in now?

Pizzey: Well I suppose I had a premonition of it because before I opened my little community centre I had been one of the first people to help set up what I thought the women's movement was going to be about — and how naive was that! I was born in China in Shanghai. We were captured by the Japanese and so, in a sense, politics of that sort was in my blood because later in 1949 both my parents were sent to what was then Tien Sin — back to China. They were captured by the communists and held under house arrest and many of the people who were captured with them were tortured and many were killed, so I had a bird's-eye view of what the joys of communism were going to mean to the rest of us. So when I first went to the meetings of the women's liberation movement which was supposed to be a movement for women and about women, I realized it was nothing — it was just yet one of those many fronts to raise money for, in those days, the "Marxist Feminist Communist Party." And I remember saying to them quite cynically "Hey, hang on a minute, if I have to call everybody comrade, and meet in cells, and pay you three pounds ten, you want me to join the communist party. I don't want to join the Communist Party — I want a women's movement!" So eventually I got booted out. So I had an inkling of what was going to happen because I was also aware that in England particularly the feminist movement didn't really reach down to any part of England, it was really always a sort of very white middle-class educated, university-educated type women, dissatisfied with themselves and dissatisfied with their lives. And it always struck me as quite relevant that Germaine Greer, one of yours...

Andersen: ...sorry we disowned her a while ago...

Pizzey: ...and Gloria Steinem, the American feminist, both had fathers who abandoned them and wrote books about it. And you know that thing that the movement was based on, which is making the personal political, well that to a large extent is what happened. Many of those leaders themselves are seriously flawed people with personality disorders.

Stapleton: And "the personal is the political" — it doesn't work both ways does it?

Pizzey: Well you can't make actually your own unique human experience — you cannot extrapolate that to then include everybody else. If your father, like mine, was a violent bully, it doesn't mean that every man I know is going to be a violent bully. It simply means that he was a product of his own background which I understand. I'm now nearly 70. I know my mother was horribly abused. Her mother died when she was young and her stepmother was very violent, and so was my grandfather, Thomas Last, who was Canadian. We come from Portland in — I think it's near Montreal — and it was hideous history of abuse, and my father the same.

Stapleton: What is the solution to this? What do you think of the programmes that operate in a lot of domestic violence treatment programs and so on? Do they work?

Pizzey: They basically miss. Because they're politically based they basically miss the entire opportunity to help people come to terms with their past. The programs, the anger management courses in England — I can only speak for England and America and Canada where I've been — basically are there to punish men better. Well you can't do that. And of course there's no recognition that women can be equally complicit in the violence. The treatment programs are useless.

Stapleton: And literally hundreds of millions of dollars are poured into these programs

Pizzey: Yes. Absolutely.

Stapleton: And you define them as a complete waste of money?

Pizzey: Well yes, because essentially, to take somebody, lets say, in these days, a violent man. He goes into an anger management program. He is treated as though the origins of his violence are of his own volition even though we know, and if you're interested you should read Dr. Bruce Perry's papers. He is a neurobiologist. He works from Houston. He has a huge child development organization there and he is one of the first ones to talk about the damage done to young children's brains, probably during pregnancy, by domestic violence, and once everybody realizes the responsibility for parents that are violent towards their children, that they'll actually brain damage them, if not when they're born, from birth; then perhaps we have to see where it needs to concentrate. We need to concentrate on in-schools, among young people, among young parents, who themselves can safely say, "Yes, I did come from a violent family. I know I have these tendencies. Please can I have some help?"

Stapleton: And if someone is asked for that help now, they get none.

Pizzey: Well not any help that would...if they're a man they're simply told "you're violent because you have a Y chromosome." That's according to the feminist theory. All men are violent because of the patriarchy because they are men. So you're born potentially a rapist, a batterer, and a child abuser.

Andersen: So even if your female partner is being physically or emotionally abusive to you, as a man when you ask for help, even though you're the victim, you're told that you have the problem because you're a man?

Pizzey: Yes. And you know the tragedy for me is that we, in the end, Chiswick became a huge therapeutic community for women who are violent, and many of the refuges in those days because they couldn't handle already violent women would send them to Chiswick. Women who are innocent victims of their partner's violence — battered women — we would send to refuges that were just hostels which is what most refuges are. Once I lost the refuge and everything was closed down, there was nowhere for violence-prone women to receive any treatment or to even be recognized. All women going into these refuges, which are largely feminist, are told they're victims. It doesn't matter what happens. If she murders a man she's a victim. If she batters, abuses and sexually abuses him, she's still a victim. And that is getting us nowhere.

Stapleton: And is this actually harming women themselves by encouraging them to see themselves as victims.

Pizzey: I think it's incredibly damaging because to not allow someone to tell the truth about how they're feeling, that in order to stay within the refuge she has to maintain a lie, which is that she is a victim, is extremely bad for her mental heath. Yes.

Purdie: It's also bad for her getting out of the place as well, for her future, the cure for the situation.

Pizzey: Yeah.

Stapleton: One of the things that I always note in reading stuff about you is just how violent, or how vicious the reactions against you were from the feminist movement. Can you talk a bit about those days?

Pizzey: Well I think you have to remember it was big money. This was their one chance to create this huge edifice. I mean it's like a very large bloated Portuguese man-of-war floating — you know those great big jellyfish?

Stapleton: Yeah

Pizzey: And because one of the things that they saw from the beginning that they could create this whole new women's — if you like — world, which could exclude men. So all of a sudden all the universities started all their women's studies. Books, research projects — money poured in! I remember going to America in 1976 or 1977 and doing this huge tour and just looking at this huge new world that was going to be women-only. The refuges excluded men and to this day no men can sit on boards, no men can work in the refuges, it's a completely isolated experience. So I knew that part of the hatred that they had and the rage they had against me was that I threatened the funding everywhere I went.

Stapleton: Because you were really painted as the complete devil of the piece weren't you.

Pizzey: Oh yes. And I mean it got very violent — death threats, warnings, picketed everywhere I went, screamed at, and even now I mean you know I'm still considered...in fact its quite peaceful because in England particularly they just really brushed me out of the whole movement so I'm not really known for what I do. I just quietly work on my own. I write my blog. I help women and men. I work for many men. In fact when I went to America that's where I was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I had a refuge there. I ended up in court with men far more than I ever did with women.

Andersen: So, Erin, how do you see the way forward in this? We've reached this stage where this debate is entirely one-sided and dominated by politics basically. How do you see us moving forward from this? How do you see change...?

Pizzey: I don't ever see it ever happening unless men are willing to work together. And I mean, you know, I was invited to New Zealand in 1978 by the Mental Health Association of New Zealand and I was supposed to go across to Australia to visit all the refuges, but by the time I got to New Zealand the refuges in Australia realized what I was going to say so I was banned from coming across and from all the refuges. So I've never even been to Australia. But certainly other countries, like Canada where I spent 6 weeks travelling that vast country talking to men's groups. I just feel this sense that until men are willing to put down their swords and co-operate with each other to do something about this, we're not going to get very much change.

van de Voorde: They're always talking about it but it doesn't seem to happen.

Pizzey: Look at this. After I opened that refuge in Chiswick I realized there needed to be a refuge for men because I had enough violent women coming in to realize that the problem was not gender-based anyway. So I asked the GLC in those days if I could have a house just for men, for battered men. They gave me a house. It was a beautiful house in North London. The millionaire men, who would put their hands in their pockets to help my women and children, refused me a penny for each other. Men will not help men.

Stapleton: You certainly see that in this country as well that a lot of the different groups, they're all arguing very similar things, but they do not work together well.

van de Voorde: But don't the women's movement also have all various groups and...

Pizzey: They do and they have tremendous factions and falling out, but what's so interesting about women is that they will take care of each other. They will actually bury their various battles in order to get on with the movement whereas men just don't.

Andersen: Do you think it comes back to that chivalrous gene again possibly, that men are out there...all these male leaders ruling the world, ruling companies, they're out there often looking after women and children, but when asked to look after men...

Pizzey: But they don't think about looking after each other, that's the bit that really baffles me.

Andersen: It's almost like it's hard-wired into male biology. It seems so intractable.

Pizzey: And to see each other as the enemy, that's the other thing.

Stapleton: I always think of them as bulls all in their separate paddocks, and they all want to get out of the paddock, but they'll be buggered if they're going to co-operate to do so.

Pizzey: I know. And the thing is the losers are their children. That's the thing I can never understand. And the people who do work hard in the movement, the heartbreaking thing for them as they say, you know, "Yes and once I've resolved his problem he goes and I never see him again." Whereas in the refuge, three-quarters of the people who worked in the refuge were all women volunteers.

van de Voorde: There's some theories about that because the way the man is...once he goes through the family law system, he is financially and emotionally exhausted at the end of it...

Pizzey: I agree.

van de Voorde: ...and they don't have the energy to actually...there's only a very few that will actually go into groups and actually become active that way. They're destroyed emotionally and financially in every way.

Pizzey: Well you know I think one of the things men really have to look at, the 21 st century men, and I've said this so often to men, they have got to learn not to be so emotionally dependent on the women in their lives. They really do have to.

Stapleton: They certainly are.

Pizzey: And they are. And that's one of the things for instance if a woman's girlfriend has a problem, a woman will say come and stay with me. If a man's friend has a problem, he doesn't say come and stay with me. His wife might, or he'll ask his wife. But there isn't this...

van de Voorde: He'll say come and have a drink

Pizzey: There isn't this concept that men should care for each other the way women care for everyone.

Andersen: I think that there is a generational change coming through. I know I'm in my 30's and I've a number of friends in their 20's. Increasingly men are, you know, a man's going through a rough patch in his relationship and he'll call his male friend and say come round, have a cuppa and they'll have a chat about it and give each other advice. It is happening I think but it's going to take maybe generations for that to really come about full swing.

Pizzey: But we can't wait that long because of the children. You know the other thing too I was saying 36 years ago is we have to understand in these violence-prone relationships. We understand addiction to alcohol, we understand addiction to drugs, we don't really understand addiction to a relationship. And once you begin to think about...which Freud said years and years ago, he said "One day all emotions will be found in chemicals of the brain." Now those are the same chemicals of alcohol and drug addiction. We carry those chemicals in our brain in the endorphins. Now what will determine your choice of partner is your childhood experiences — the way your brain is actually set up to receive information, and you see this is where it works, and its quite easy to deal with, where a perfectly normal person by accident gets involved with a violence-prone person and once they get help they can get out without any difficulty because they're not actually addicted to that personality. They're basically fooled into thinking they were something they weren't and then when the violence starts they're out of there. The problem is where you find yourself in a totally addictive relationship to somebody you know is a disaster for you, but you cannot leave it alone and you go back and back and back, and sometimes you go back until you die.

Stapleton: There has been here a multi-million dollar domestic violence campaign over the last few months in Australia in television advertising and newspaper advertising. You cannot these days go to a urinal in the movies without having these posters in front of you as a bloke, while you're attending to nature, suggesting that if you're a violent person contact this number or if you have friends who are violent contact this number.

Pizzey: Yeah but what'll happen when you contact the number?

Purdie: The police will come around and arrest you and take you away as a violent person.

Pizzey: Yeah, I mean, only just recently here in England — I do quite a lot of public speaking — are the police, now that we've got mandatory arrest it used to be that whatever happened the police would pick up the man. It doesn't happen so much now. They do pick up the one that they think — and the other day it was a woman and she was carted off. In fact she was treated far, far gentler than if it had been the man in custody, but at least here we're beginning to recognise that women are capable of being violent and even though it's still saturated with men as the perpetrators, the language has become much more gender-neutral because they have to.

Stapleton: This campaign that we've had here in Australia paints the men as perpetrators and the women as victims completely. There is no variation on that. Do you think those sort of campaigns do more harm than good.

Pizzey: Absolutely. Absolutely! Because it's a lie apart from anything else. It's a terrible lie. You know perfectly well that when you get involved with a woman, unless you know her background and what is likely to happen, you can wake up one morning and find you're involved with a nightmare. And then there's the nightmare of trying to get out of it. Had it been a woman waking up with a nightmare next to her she has all sorts of avenues for escape. And immediate sympathy and immediate protection, but just as likely it's going to be a man and he is going to get ridiculed, laughed at... just like my father was 6 foot 4 and my mother was a traditional 4 foot 9. Nightmare! No one would ever believe what my mother got up to behind the front door. My father was a diplomat and they travelled all over the world and they were both totally addicted to each other. Actually I would say he was completely addicted to her and she just very cold-bloodedly used him because he had money and influence.

Stapleton: Is there any evidence that these public education campaigns decrease the level of interpersonal violence in the community at all?

Pizzey: Well no! I mean obviously they don't because basically as long as you have this huge lie that whatever's happening in the family is not happening, because most domestic violence actually is consensual. Both parties are violent. One party may not be physically violent to the other but in those relationship-addiction situations they don't leave each other. The violence is perpetual. It needs treatment. It needs to come out of the courts where it shouldn't be treated, into mental health issues.

Stapleton: What is the research showing then, now, in this whole debate?

Pizzey: The whole debate is showing that the figures for domestic violence, behind the front door, it's roughly equal. Which is what I would expect. Back to the whole concept... if children are exposed to violent parents, both boys and girls are affected so you would expect to see virtually equal figures anyway wouldn't you?

van de Voorde: Erin, your book, Prone to Violence which was thoroughly boycotted and totally censured by the feminists, what was so objectionable to them?

Pizzey: It was...it's a whole record and I've put it up online so that you can read it online ...the whole thing was because it was a discussion and a description of the work I did within the refuge to help women who were already violent and seeking help. It was the work I did with children. There's a whole chapter on children who kill. It was about women who were already violent, who'd been battered and sexually abused as children, about the prostitutes that came into the refuge, how they too had all...and it caused havoc because it was even-handed.

Andersen: What was the work? What was your approach with those women? How did you help them and how's it different to the way that the system now apparently helps women?

Pizzey: Anybody coming to me who is incapable of making warm, loving relationships needs to actually spend that time going back into the very early memories of when they were first abused, abandoned and betrayed themselves, and then, with understanding and help, work their way through. So in a sense they can mend themselves. See, we don't give anybody a second chance. They can come through small mini-concentration camps of childhoods and anything they do thereafter they're punished for. It shouldn't be like that.

Stapleton: So if a child is in a domestic violence situation or someone listening to this program is a perpetrator or a victim, what do you say to those people? What, should they just get out, or...?

Pizzey: You can transcend your violence. You can transcend it. I had to. Lots of people do. Not everyone who's come from a violent home goes on to repeat the patterns. We don't even look at that. Because we've always seen domestic violence as a huge political issue we've never looked at it the way it should be looked at. What you need to do, if you're listening and you are suffering and you are aware that you are making violent relationships, is you need to go back and work on yourself. There's no such thing as perfect parents, you know. We all have to transcend our own childhood. Look at what our parents gave us that was valuable and good and hold on to that. And throw away the stuff that wasn't. And then make that vow that whatever happens in your life you will not repeat those patterns on your own children.

Stapleton: And so when you take people into these refuges, what do you do for them?

Pizzey: What happens is, the refuge was a re-learning programme if you like, a re-parenting programme. Chiswick was like a great big unruly family. Mike Dunn who was an ex-rugger player and ex-priest, he was one of the therapists, and he was a sort of father figure. Thel Pepper was the housemother. She was in her 70's and she was a grandmother figure. I was the mother figure and there were loads of aunts and uncles around and it was a huge project. You came in with your children. There you could be yourself, yes if you were violent, yes if you had alcohol problems, all of it. You were welcome and you were loved. And in a way, I mean I always felt possibly in a sense I could never rehabilitate my own mother. She died when I was 17 of cancer, but I did recognise that it is possible to rehabilitate if people want to be helped, and people did want to be helped. That was the thing so many of the women would just say, "I'm so glad I can tell you what happens."

van de Voorde: Of course one of the problems is today that the current system eliminates the father who, like the mother, they both want to protect their children, but when the father is eliminated from being able to help the children, that's where part of the problem is, isn't it? Because there's only one parent and often because of gender the children are left with the most dysfunctional of their parents.

Pizzey: Yes, I mean that's the tragedy and because of, in a sense, in the next 50 years we're going to look back and these last years, from 1971 onwards, will be seen as the dark ages for the family in the Western world. It really will. And you know I was at those huge collectives when the feminist movement was at its height in England, when it was at it's most vociferous, and the launching of this destruction of the family. The family was not a safe place for women and children. The family had to be reconstructed and the family had to call itself... "Women and children" were the family unit. "Men, women and children" were no longer acceptable. Men had to be disenfranchised from family life.

Stapleton: So you see, yourself, the feminist movement has done more harm than good, or...?

Pizzey: I think it's one of the most evil movements of this last century.

Stapleton: And yet you yourself are clearly a highly intelligent and very successful woman.

Pizzey: [Laughs]. I'm in a bedsit and on a pension because I've been bankrupted so often by this, so I'm highly intelligent but I'm not successful, no.

van de Voorde: Are you generalizing by saying that, because surely it must be just the radical feminists who are like that. You're saying that the feminist movement as a whole...?

Pizzey: ...is evil?

van de Voorde: is evil.

Pizzey: Yes. Because the entire concept is evil. Any movement that sets out to hate, as the feminist movement does... I mean even down to the woman in the street who will say, "I'm a feminist," what does she actually mean? She means she's derogatory about men.

Purdie: But doesn't it mean that she's basically, that they're pushing the women's cause, not so much denigrating men but elevating women?

Pizzey: But nobody needs to do that. I mean, you know, all of us who have children, who have brothers and uncles and...you know, women hold up half the sky but men hold up the other half.

Stapleton: So how have you managed personally to survive the level of vitriol that you've faced and go on as you've done?

Pizzey: Faith. Faith. Love of God really. I'm a lover of God in all his aspects. I'm not comfortable with organized religions but I absolutely passionately believe that I am loved and we are all loved, and I accepted very early on when I realized, and I'd actually come face-to-face with this movement, and I was thrown out — I was banned from all the collectives — I realized what I was taking on, and I knew it was going to be hard and I knew it was going to be lonely, and it still is.

Stapleton: We're running out of time now. Can you just sum up for us what you've... [laughs] I don't know how you could do it, but if you could sum up your experiences over time and what you would like to pass on.

Pizzey: I think sometime in most people's lives they're faced with something they know that is evil, and they have a choice. You can either decide that it is your job to overcome this and to fight it through or you can run away. And I chose to stand up and fight it. And what I feel now passionately when I'm talking to men is there has to be a consciousness-raising among men that they are responsible for each other. There has to be a laying down of the swords. The trouble is so many men are wounded warriors and they have to heal themselves before they go into battle. The future for actually overthrowing this dreadful movement has to be in men's hands. They have to get together to fight for the sake of their children.

Stapleton: We've been talking with Erin Pizzey. She's one of the world's leading commentators on gender and the author of a number of books including Prone to Violence , Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear and a number of other articles including "Domestic Violence is Not a Gender Issue." Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Pizzey: OK.

Andersen: Thank you. It's been a great pleasure.

Pizzey: Thank you. Goodbye.

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Added August 5, 2007

Last modified 5/18/15