My German & history teacher
the strongest woman I knew when growing up was my German and History teacher. She was also my form teacher and was respected not only by everyone in our class but the whole school. When this new fashion in the 90s came up of using the feminine and masculine version of words (attaching -in to the word for teacher to denote that it is a female teacher) she protested, saying that she feels just as respected when the simple word for teacher is used (Lehrer and not Lehrer-In). She marked me slightly better than I deserved for a presentation in 9th grade when I had just moved to the children’s home. But she never did that again and when I got an A+ in my final German exam I knew that it was for my work and not because I was the disadvantaged kid. She believed in giving people a helping hand when they were going through a tough time, but not attaching perpetual victim status to them.
She encouraged me to write and would probably be very disappointed to learn that I have decided to write in English …
She just received the life time reward for working with men and women in domestic violence situations. coming herself from an abusive family Miss Pizzey made it her mission to bridge the gap between men and women and teach people, who have come from families with generations of violence, that it is possible to live together without constantly hitting each other. She opened the very first shelter for battered women in the UK in 1971. When the women moved in she sat down with them and discussed their situation. She soon found that 60% of the women were as violent as the men that they were fleeing from. That was not surprising as even earlier studies had shown that domestic violence is gender neutral and basically a generational phenomenon as each grown child passes it on to the next generation. However, as she tried to publish these results and tried to work on anti-aggression training with these women as well as make space in the shelters for the battered men she faced vehement opposition from radical Feminists. They had long institutionalised that domestic violence to be seen on the basis of the Duluth model, which states that the family is the smaller version of patriarchy in general, just as woman are oppressed by men in government in the wider world, in the family they are oppressed by their husband and thus he is the natural aggressor and per se the person responsible for any violence within the family. (http://ironshrink.com/2006/11/its-time-for-domestic-violence-treatment-to-grow-up/) This model was never empirically tested and in fact can be clearly seen to be ideologically motivated rather than in any way helpful to any person suffering from domestic violence. It leaves men and children in vulnerable situations and does not offer any help to women who can’t control their violent urges. For wanting to change this situation Erin Pizzey received death threats to the extent that she needed police protection. Her children and grand children had to be protected. When they couldn’t get to her, they killed her family dog, at which point she was at the end of her wits and decided to leave the UK and live in the US in hiding. Over 70 years of age now, she has become active again in the past few years lecturing on the reality of domestic violence and the need t abandon ideological models. She is an inspiration for every woman, men and child.
Next to come …. Sen. Anne Couls