Shawano Voices of Men hosting breakfast

Event streaming at SCHS, ThedaCare

The eighth annual Voices of Men Call to Action breakfast event, on Nov. 7, will focus on promoting healthy masculinity and creating a society free of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

The program is hosted by Fox Valley Voices of Men in Appleton, with two locations in Shawano – Shawano Community High School and ThedaCare Wolf River Room – where the public is invited to view this free event through live streaming. The program for the annual Call to Action runs from 8-9:30 a.m., with registration at 7:45 a.m.

The local livestreaming is sponsored by the Shawano Voices of Men Committee, an effort of Safe Haven Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Support Center. To register for the livestreaming locations, call Safe Haven at 715-526-3421.

Shawano Voices of Men, in collaboration with the Fox Valley chapter and Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, provides training and messaging for males of all ages to create a more respectful, safer world.

The call-to-action event features two nationally known guest speakers: Brenda Tracy and Guante.

Since 2014, Tracy has traveled the nation, sharing the story of her 1998 gang-rape by four men — two of whom were Oregon State football players. Her story is one of recovery, redemption, struggle, depression, forgiveness, purpose and service in the name of preventing others from having to endure similar struggles.

Tracy makes dozens of appearances each year before high school and college sports programs, with the intent of changing male behaviors toward women.
Guante is a Twin Cities-based slam poet who creates challenging and often uncomfortable work, defying societal norms on treatment of, and attitudes toward, women.

An educator as well as a performing artist, Guante completed his master’s studies in 2016 at the University of Minnesota with a focus on spoken word, critical pedagogy and social justice education.

The Shawano Voices of Men Committee was initiated by Safe Haven in 2016. Fox Valley Voices of Men was launched in 2007 as an initiative of four Fox Valley domestic abuse and sexual assault programs: the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services (Oshkosh), Harbor House Domestic Abuse Program (Appleton), Reach Counseling (Neenah-Oshkosh) and the Sexual Assault Crisis Center (Appleton).

While those programs typically serve a female population, the issue of sexual assault and domestic abuse is generally a male-population issue. Multiple studies show that approximately 90 percent of sexual assault and domestic violence perpetrators are men.

Voices of Men’s mission statement is: “Men helping end sexual assault and domestic violence by dismantling Man Box culture and building a culture of Healthy Manhood.”

The effort was boosted by a 2008 Community Health Action Team plunge on domestic violence, led by ThedaCare. 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 men who wanted to be part of the solution.

The annual Voices of Men breakfast has hosted more than 1,000 people in each of the past two years, offering ways to elevate women and girls and create a culture of safety and dignity.