At A Voice for Men’s conference yesterday, antifeminist crusader Erin Pizzey was given “a special award for her tireless work with ALL the victims of domestic violence.” Due to the amazing public relations work of AVFM’s spokeswoman for the conference, I don’t know what the award was called, so let’s just assume it was the World’s Greatest Erin Pizzey Award.
Whatever the award was called, the notion that Pizzey works, tirelessly or otherwise, on behalf of “ALL the victims of domestic violence” is demonstrably false. Indeed, she has argued vociferously against extending DV protection to all victims.
In an op-ed she wrote for The Daily Mail in 2011, Pizzey declared herself “horrified” that the British government would consider extending domestic violence protection to those subjected to “emotional bullying and ‘coercive control’” as well as actual physical abuse.
Her “argument” may be triggering for abuse survivors, so I’m putting all of her quotes below the jump.
In other words, if you stop your wife using the phone, you could be bracketed with a man who has knocked his wife’s teeth out in a rage.
In the future, couples who row, smashing precious belongings in a fit of anger perhaps, could seek to have their other half charged under domestic violence laws. Thus, too, wives who, for whatever reason, destroy their husband’s fine wine collection, or cut the sleeve off his suits in an act of revenge for some betrayal or slight, may find themselves charged with this most serious of crimes.
Domineering, bullying husbands who shout at their wives but never lift a finger to hurt them would find themselves in court.
Let me tell you: this is not domestic violence. It is an absurd idea to define such acts in that way, and worse, it serves to trivialise genuine cases of domestic abuse.
The new definition, which the government did indeed put in place in 2013, extended domestic violence and abuse to include
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
The government spelled out clearly what they meant by “controlling” and “coercive” behavior.
Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”*
*This definition includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.
There is no question, at least not to anyone who is serious about ending domestic violence and abuse, that “controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour” is abuse.
Why shouldn’t “domineering, bullying husbands who shout at their wives” in an attempt to control and coerce them be prosecuted for abuse? Why shouldn’t wives who do the same be prosecuted?
Pizzey not only argued against prosecuting those who bully their partners into submission through emotional, psychological, sexual or financial abuse. She also argued that most victims of domestic violence aren’t really legitimate victims either:
To me, the definition of domestic violence is quite clear: if you are not in fear of your life, you are not suffering it.
That’s right, the woman AVFM just honored as an advocate for “ALL victims of domestic violence” only considers actual physical violence to be domestic violence if the victim is literally afraid that they will be killed.
In all other cases, where the aggression takes only an emotional form, or a few coffee cups have been chucked around, women in modern Britain thankfully have the option of finding a lawyer and choosing to separate from their husbands if they wish to do so.
The obvious point is that there is almost always clear evidence in domestic violence cases — bruises, cuts, internal organ damage or scars. Unless you have seen real, shocking abuse as I have, it is difficult to imagine some of the awful violence that people can inflict on each other in the home. And that’s why I’m convinced that bringing other, lesser, wrongs under this same legal umbrella does a great disservice to the women who really suffer.
How does protecting all victims of abuse do a disservice to those suffering the worst abuse? The police arrest people who assault as well as people who murder; this is hardly a “great disservice” to victims of murder.
Pizzey warns that the expanded definition “will turn millions of us into criminals.” She then makes a startling confession:
[A]fter all, I’ve been known in my time to lob the odd glass of wine in the heat of the moment. Indeed, there is something frightfully satisfying about chucking wine at somebody.
Yep. The woman who is A Voice for Men’s guru on domestic violence likes to chuck wine glasses at people. And apparently thinks this is a perfectly fine way to handle domestic disputes.
At this rate, we’ll all end up under arrest, and that is not a situation that’s going to help the police tackle the cases of true physical violence which must be stamped out.
Needless to say, the new definition, in place since April of last year, has not led to mass arrests of everyone in the U.K. If the new definition has put some wine-glass chuckers in jail, I can’t say I think this is a great injustice.
Pizzey declares that
People behave badly in relationships because we have human frailties. This is not an area in which the State should meddle; leave it to relationship counsellors and divorce lawyers.
Why shouldn’t the state “meddle” in cases of domestic abuse? The law doesn’t end at your door.
Pizzey winds up her op-ed by accusing those working against domestic violence – presumably she excludes herself – of being in it for money and power.
Over the past ten years, domestic violence has become a huge feminist industry. …
This is girls-only empire building, and it is highly lucrative at that. Men are not allowed to be employed at these organisations. Boys over the age of 12 are not allowed into safe houses where their mothers are staying, which I think is scandalous. …
Who benefits from this industry? Refuge has an annual income of more than £10 million from both public and private donations. Cherie Booth is a patron. The heads of these organisations are on very generous salaries.
And they are on a feminist mission to demonise men — even those who never have and never will hit a woman.
It’s appalling that this woman has gotten any kind of award.