Barbara Kay: On domestic violence, no one wants to hear the truth
In a just world, Englishwoman Erin Pizzey, who founded the world's first shelter for battered wives in 1971, would be a sought-after speaker on the subject of domestic violence. In the real world, however, Pizzey's name is a byword for politically incorrect apostasy.
Pizzey's crime? A humanist, she challenged the belief system dictated by radical feminists, who colonized her shelter and made her presence untenable. Their ideological mantra, still alive and kicking, insists that men are the default perpetrators in domestic violence (also known as "intimate partner violence," or IPV, in the jargon) while women are invariably innocent victims who inflict violence only in self-defence. But Pizzey knew from her own experience (her wealthy, socially elite parents were mutually abusive, and her mother violent to Erin), and from what the women in her shelter told her, that most partner violence is reciprocal.
Holding women responsible for their violence was so at odds with the received wisdom of the movement's activists that, for her whistle-blowing pains, Pizzey's dog was killed and her entire family received death threats. Undaunted, she pursued her equal-responsibility crusade in the United States for many years in a fusillade of articles and books.
While dramatically extreme, Pizzey's story is nevertheless emblematic of the hostility truth-tellers confront in the domestic violence industry.
Another outlier, University of British Columbia psychology professor Don Dutton, is acknowledged by his peers as a world expert on IPV. He has proven, over and over again -- most recently in his definitive 2006 book, Rethinking Domestic Violence -- that the tendency to violence in intimate relationships is bilateral and rooted in individual dysfunction: Men and women with personality disorders and/or family histories of violence are equally likely to be violent themselves, or seek violent partners.
But Dutton's scientific credentials and extensive 25-year archive of peer-reviewed research cut no ice with Canadian policymakers, none of whom has ever solicited his advice.
Instead, pseudo-science absolving women of violent impulses, delivered on demand to interest groups by the same tiny, incestuous coterie of ideologically sympathetic professionals, is routinely applied in training police, family law judges, social workers and women's shelter personnel.
A lazy, politically correct media dutifully spreads the party line by reporting uncritically on bogus selection-biased "studies" by non-accredited stakeholders, who extrapolate to the general population data that are based on testimonials from men in court-mandated therapy programs or women in shelters.
Ah, women's shelters! Southern Ontario resident Mariel Davison offers up a rather damning story of what happens when naively impartial volunteerism collides with women's shelter groupthink.
Davison has an honours degree in psychology. A few years ago, considering herself an "equal opportunity feminist," she volunteered to serve at a local women's shelter. During eight weeks' "training," Davison was subjected to relentless male-bashing and junk science. That, and the puzzling incongruity of the female-as-victim message with the battered lesbians who also sought refuge -- lesbian violence was a taboo subject amongst trainees -- led to further intellectual inquiry.
Davison thought her trove of cutting-edge findings would prove welcome, but instead they got her turfed by her peers: "I was told I had too much education to volunteer at the shelter."
Incredulous, Davison dogged the shelter's supervising and financing government ministries with demands that they review objective literature, but was stonewalled at every turn. Nothing came of her campaign.
And nothing will for the foreseeable future, because the domestic-violence industry is a closed shop, from Women's Studies courses (don't look for Pizzey's or Dutton's research there, or in Men's Studies, since there are none), to women-only shelters, to Status of Women, to the National Judicial Council, to the Supreme Court of Canada. They're all reading from the same myth-riddled hymnbook.
Erin Pizzey and Don Dutton were both keynote speakers at a recent Sacramento, Calif. conference sponsored by the California Alliance for Families and Children. Pizzey accepted a lifetime achievement award to a prolonged ovation.
Pizzey told her standing-room-only audience that for gender politics "Canada is the scariest country on the planet." Scary to men who suffer because of it, certainly, but apparently not to most other Canadians, who remain curiously indifferent to the demonstrable misandry permeating the institutions that define and shape our culture.