Erin Pizzey, Domestic Violence Pioneer

Erin Pizzey was a pioneer in domestic violence activism. In 1971, she set up the Chiswick Refuge in London, UK, one of the first shelters in the world for battered women.

Early on in her work at Chiswick, she noticed that many of the women coming to her shelters were “violence prone”. They sought out abusive relationships and committed a significant amount of violence themselves. Often their violent ways triggered their partner’s abuses against them. Worse, these families raised their children to be a new generation of abusers addicted to violent behaviors.

Pizzey wrote several books about her experiences and findings. One of her early works was Prone to Violence which explained the patterns of violent families she observed. Further, she talked about how the women in these families were often as violent or even more violent than the men.

The “false” feminists at the time were aggravated by Pizzey breaking the silence on female abusers. They worked hard to suppress her writings. Copies of Prone to Violence in libraries and bookstores were allegedly widely destroyed by feminists bent on censoring the revelation that battered women are frequently abusive themselves.

Pizzey’s findings didn’t fit the feminist worldview, so for their purposes it had to be suppressed. Reportedly the original publisher of the book was pushed into bankruptcy by their actions. While it is hard to find many of Pizzey’s books in print today, a new Canadian publisher has picked up the printing of Prone to Violence recently. Most of the text of the book is available on-line at

In more recent years, Pizzey has expanded her efforts to get the word out about “emotional terrorists”, abusive women, and violent families via the Internet and collaboration with other activists and writers. She’s continued her work opening domestic violence shelters and advocating for reform to address the real roots of family violence. She remains strongly convinced that it is not men who are solely to blame for domestic violence. Instead, she believes domestic violence spread by violent families consisting of violent abusers of either and both genders who infect their children with an addiction to violence.

Unfortunately, far too many people still have yet to hear about her work. The popular but misguided “blame the men for it all” propaganda still reigns supreme. I encourage you to help the children of the future by spreading the word about Erin Pizzey’s findings and efforts to help stop family violence.

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