Resistance and Acceptance: The
Challenge to Understanding
In previous chapters, we explored some key obstacles to obtaining assistance for abused men. Disbelief and ridicule are two areas that most often set the male victim apart from his female counterpart. We have seen that the male victim has few resources and finds little support among public agencies or in the media, which in turn increase his isolation. Resistance to the concept of a male victim of domestic violence is high and, in some instances, virulent. To understand the current status of men who find themselves in this situation, it is helpful to examine both negative and positive reactions and the parameters of the debate.
As mentioned in the introduction, I expect this book to result in controversy. Indeed, it is more a certainty than an expectation, given what has happened to a number of others who have publicly examined this issue. There have been shootings, bomb threats, death threats (even against children), career threats and actions, and attempted character assassinations.
One example is the case of Suzanne Steinmetz, currently a professor at Indiana University. While at the University of Delaware, she coauthored Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family. 1 This book was one of the first to explore the entire range of family violence; it was widely praised, it was used as support for women's groups, and not much controversy came about as a result of it. The work was based on