Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

Article excerpt

Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence. Philip W. Cook. Westport, CT: Praeger. 1997. 195 pp. ISBN 0-275-95862-0. $26.95 cloth.

Philip Cook is a former broadcast journalist who has won awards from several journalism associations for his reporting. In Abused Men he brings his experiences of working within the world of reporting and in-depth news analysis to examine a topic he became aware of from his crime and hospital reporting, as well as from experiences shared by acquaintances. In presenting his findings, Cook writes in an interesting and inviting manner, the engaging style of a journalist providing an in-depth discussion of a topic that he acknowledges is controversial, emotionally laden, and in conflict with many beliefs about abuse and violence in America.

Cook asserts that male victims of domestic violence are numerous and represent a major social problem that has, in general, been ignored, disbelieved, or dismissed. In the first chapter Cook presents evidence of the extent of the problem and indicates that the data supporting the prevalence of male victims are not new but that the results have been ignored by academics, policymakers, and treatment personnel. In fact, the same national research program that demonstrated the extent of female abuse through domestic violence also contained data demonstrating that men experienced abuse at almost the same level (though somewhat higher) and their injuries were as serious as those experienced by women. However, the data on male abuse were not reported with the data on female abuse and were not presented publicly for another decade. The data were ignored.

Cook indicates that when the data were reported, they were disbelieved. Scholars and policy planners either doubted the validity of the data (though they accepted the data on women from the same study), or they believed that reporting male abuse would result in people believing men and women were equal in abuse, and then women's abuse programs would lose support. …