What if Erin Pizzey is right?

“Women’s Liberation, if not the most extreme, then certainly the most influential neo-Marxist movement in America, has done to the American home what communism did to the Russian economy, and most of the ruin is irreversible.

“Women’s Liberation, if not the most extreme, then certainly the most influential neo-Marxist movement in America, has done to the American home what communism did to the Russian economy, and most of the ruin is irreversible. By defining between men and women in terms of power and competition instead of reciprocity and co-operation, the movement tore apart the most basic and fragile contract in human society, the unit from which all other social institutions draw their strength.” — Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse: http://www.erinpizzey.com/seminar.html#wisse

Erin Pizzey began the women’s shelter movement in England as an effort of kindness. She reached out to women and children in violent or unstable domestic situations — and at the same time she reached out to their men as well.

Her fundamental principles were formulated by observation.

“I recognized that children born into violent and dysfunctional families were most likely to grow up into violent and dysfunctional adults. I realized that both men and women who were not able to make harmonious and loving relationships needed help,” Pizzey said.

Her view was that some women (or men) are what she calls “prone to violence.” That based on a dysfunctional upbringing, these individuals seek out and unwittingly trigger confrontations because they are addicted to the adrenaline rush of the drama.

This thinking is borne out by other neuroscience and behavioural researchers. Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons of Radiant Recovery believes . . . “that unbalanced biochemistry plays a huge part in [domestic] abuse. . . . Low beta-endorphin means low self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, you learn to find ways to raise it so you can feel at least a little normal for some of the time. Sugar does this, alcohol does this . . . and . . . causing pain to others does it as well. . . . The abuse makes your beta-endorphin spike up. . . . Thus the ‘cycle’ of abuse continues.” http://www.radiantrecovery.com/weeklynewsletter/Newsletter249.html

What if the gigantic divorce and family services industry is really built upon magnifying the emotionally disabilities of the couples who are in conflict, rather than resolving them.

The tragedy that Erin Pizzey noted years ago, was that we are all in this together — men and women. Her view is that it is crucial to help a couple understand how to communicate, to find the source of the emotional triggers between them, and to provide the couple with new ways of dealing with those situations.

That’s what she did until gender feminists ran roughshod over her method, took over the shelter movement and turned it into a ‘bunker’ movement. Along the way declared that men are just ‘bad’ by nature — so get the women and children away from them.

Pizzey acknowledges that some relationships are so violent that they can only be solved by the total separation of the individuals. But she thinks those are in the minority.

Pizzey is one of few women activists, who have actually worked the front lines with couples in conflict, who says that women can be equally as vicious and violent toward men.

Any junior high school girl can confirm that females may not hit much with their hands, but they are often experts in finding other ways to delivering low and devastating blows.

Pizzy doesn’t condemn either side — but she looks for ways to teach couples how to be more loving and how to leave the addiction of the drama behind them.

Bullying research like that found in “It’s a Girl’s World” http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/girls_world/ indicates that women, far from being victims, are often the perpetrators, but in sly ways . . . “lurking underneath this facade of niceness is a hidden culture of nastiness that pits one . . . against another.” This is something they learn as girls.

As one reviewer of the book Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons wrote: “Females fight with what is called “relational aggression”: the silent treatment, exclusion, mean looks, rumour spreading, ganging up . . . , manipulating relationships. In a girl’s world, friendship is a weapon. A fist is weak when compared to the humiliation of a day of silence and rejection. There is no gesture more devastating than the back turning coldly away.”

Are these acts of emotional violence ever figured into the rape, divorce and custody scenario? Or is it always all the guys’ fault? He is no match for his emotions of humiliation combined with the current family court system. Driven by hormones to ensure the survival of the species it’s hardly a fair fight. Especially when women frequently use sexual temptation and rejection as a means of manipulating men to get what they want.

What if Erin Pizzy is right?

What have we done?

Recent relevant cases:

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/999134–dimanno-supreme-court-s-consent-ruling-infantilizes-women

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/03/04/kevin-libin-the-misplaced-denunciations-of-judge-robert-dewar/

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/06/01/barbara-kay-the-other-side-of-the-domestic-abuse-story/

Michelle Stirling Anosh is a Ponoka-based freelance writer.

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