A community where boys are taught Healthy Manhood, and men treat all people with dignity.
Fox Valley men helping end sexual assault and domestic violence by dismantling Man Box culture and building a culture of Healthy Manhood.
Voices of Men was founded in 2007 in the Fox Valley region (Wisconsin) when our four domestic violence/sexual assault agencies (Christine Ann Center, Harbor House, Reach Counseling, and Sexual Assault Crisis Center) gathered men for a “Men’s Summit” after Harbor House brought Ben Atherton-Zeman to our community. Ben’s message focused on engaging men and boys in the work of ending sexual assault and domestic violence. Inspired by the Men’s Summit, a group of 40 men wanted to do more. The effort received a boost through a 2008 CHAT (Community Health Action Team) plunge on domestic violence led by ThedaCare. Following the plunge, a steering committee was formed to plan an intensive four-month initiative starting in January 2010. This effort culminated in a community breakfast that drew more than 400 well-meaning men who wanted to be part of the solution. This breakfast has become an annual event (attracting nearly 1,100 people in 2015) to learn about simple everyday behaviors that can either foster a culture that enables violence and sexism, or can help elevate women and girls and create a culture of safety and dignity.
In 2014, inspired by our annual Breakfast, students from Appleton North High School and Lawrence University each launched “chapters” of Voices of Men – bringing our message to their school community, and engaging in this work year-around. In 2015, inspired by these two chapters, five additional chapters started in the Fox Valley area, including an elementary school and a middle school chapter, facilitated in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs – Fox Valley.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are often considered “women’s issues.” Voices of Men is trying to change that perception and get people thinking about these as “men’s issues” or “human issues” since approximately 90% of perpetrators are men. Voices of Men works in close partnership with women leaders from our four local domestic violence and sexual assault agencies so they can guide and inform our work. Our approach is “upstream” – we look to address the root causes of these epidemics. Violence against women is rooted in sexism and how our culture teaches masculinity – what we call the “Man Box” (the messages society gives us about what it means to “act like a man”). Our educational efforts ask men to challenge sexism and redefine masculinity so that we start teaching Healthy Manhood instead of the Man Box.
Youth leaders from the Appleton North “Stand Up” chapter speaking at our 2015 Breakfast.
To date, more than 4,000 men and teenage boys have attended our Breakfast. In addition, more than 2,500 men and teenage boys have taken our White Ribbon Pledge “never to commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women and children.” An annual survey of Breakfast participants revealed:
Over 1,000 people in attendance for our 2015 Breakfast.
LEADERSHIP TEAM 2017
Beth Schnorr, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs. (Domestic Abuse Agency Representative)
Helen Kobussen, Sexual Assault Crisis Center-Fox Cities. (Sexual Assault Agency Representative)
Lyn Beyer, Reach Counseling. (Sexual Assault Agency Representative)
Maria Wierichs, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services. (Domestic Abuse Agency Representative)
Alex Hummel, UW-Oshkosh.
Dave Walsh, Miron Construction Co., Inc. (Leadership Team Secretary)
Duwaine Robinson, Grande Cheese Company.
Keith Wilk, Goodwill NCW. (Leadership Team Treasurer)
Rick Detienne, Laminations, retired.
Scott Decker, ThedaCare.
Scott Schanhofer, YMCA of the Fox Cities.
Tom Berkedal, Stifel Financial. (Leadership Team President)
Tony Gonzalez, United Way Fox Cities. (Leadership Team Vice President)