Kavanaugh issue shines light on male behavior

By: 

Dan Robinson Special to the Leader

The controversy surrounding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh has again highlighted the severe problem of sexual violence, with one in three women in our country experiencing sexual violence at some point in their lives.

This accusation also takes place in the context of the #MeToo movement and follows on the heels of many other public accusations of sexual violence by men.

While people may have differing opinions on the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, this situation has sparked a wider conversation around what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior by men and boys, the pain and devastation caused by sexual violence, how to show respect for victims, and how we as a society deal with accusations.

Those conversations are needed, and in the midst of them, we can all agree that sexual violence is never permissible, and that we as a society — and especially those of us who are men — must do a better job of preventing sexual and domestic violence against women.

The Shawano Area Voices of Men group was established with just that goal in mind. Made up of local men and women, in partnership with Safe Haven, our group’s mission is to help end sexual assault and domestic violence by dismantling an unhealthy male culture and building a culture of healthy manhood.

That includes making it OK for men to have a range emotions beyond just anger, to seek help and not always need to be in charge or dominate, and to value women as equals and not just because of their physical appearance.

Everyone is invited to join us for an upcoming call-to-action breakfast, sponsored by the Fox Valley Voices of Men group. The event brings together men and women, young and old, for a morning highlighted by powerful speakers, inspiring music, and the witness of people throughout northeast Wisconsin working to end domestic and sexual violence.

We’ll be sponsoring a local livestream of the breakfast on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 8-9:30 a.m. at Glas Coffee House, 511 N. Main St., Shawano. For more information on the call-to-action breakfast, please call Safe Haven at 715-526-3421.

Anyone in our community can take part in the Voices of Men efforts by attending one of our monthly meetings, going to our Facebook page, Voices of Men Shawano Area, and liking or sharing the information there. You can also invite members of our group to share this important work with your community organization, church, or other group.

For more information on any of these efforts, please contact Phil Hollar, chair of Shawano Area Voices of Men, at 715-526-8119.

Current events present us all with a challenge and an opportunity — to build a community where boys are taught Healthy Manhood, and men treat all people with dignity. Together, we can make that community a reality.

Dan Robinson is a member of the Voices of Men leadership team in Shawano.