Voices of Men Initiative Marks Five Years of Advocacy Work and Hosts Annual Event with a Record Number of Attendees and Sponsors

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With 800 participants attending and more than 30 sponsor organizations on board, Fox Valley Voices of Men hosted its annual breakfast event to a record crowd this week in Appleton, Wisconsin. The bold movement marks its fifth year of advocacy efforts in 2014 and continues its mission to change the attitudes and actions of men and boys that contribute to the abuse of women and children.

Fox Valley Voices of Men Fifth Annual Breakfast Event in 2014
To me, Voices of Men is about each of us trying to be an example for others to follow in treating women with respect and dignity.

Now in its fifth year of advocacy and education efforts, Fox Valley Voices of Men reached its largest crowd yet this week with a record number of sponsors when the group hosted its annual breakfast event.

‘Removing the Mask’ served as the theme for 2014 as the Wisconsin-based organization reiterated its mission of taking a stand against men’s violence against women and children. In all, 800 men and young men were in attendance with support from 30+ business sponsors.

The event opened with women representing the four local Voices of Men partner agencies – Harbor House Domestic Abuse Services, the Sexual Assault Crisis Center, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services and Reach Counseling Services – who work with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in the Fox Valley region every day.

It also featured real-world scenarios from the Chicago-based theater group, SST, where participants were challenged to take off “the mask” that represents the stereotypical things society has long taught about what it means to be a man.

The scenarios were meant to show how certain language and behaviors have become so commonplace in everything from advertising campaigns to daily interactions nowadays, and how they objectify and devalue women.

“For too long, our society has excused the behaviors of men who feel entitled or believe women have less value,” said Shannon Kenevan, president of Voices of Men. “The fact that men represent 90 percent or more of the perpetrators of women’s violence shows that it’s a problem we must come together to address.”

As in years past, the pledge to “not commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women and children” was read aloud. Thousands of adult and young men have taken this pledge since 2010.

“To me, Voices of Men is about each of us trying to be an example for others to follow in treating women with respect and dignity,” said Tom Berkedal, co-host of the 2014 breakfast. “I have five really important reasons to be at this podium and to continue this work in spreading awareness – my wife, three daughters and a granddaughter.”

According to Voices of Men, one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.

“This isn’t an issue men can just choose to ignore until someone they love is directly impacted,” Kenevan explained. “We should be concerned about EVERY woman who is abused or assaulted.”

Voices of Men, a 2011 recipient of the Voices of Courage Award from the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, has led training sessions for athletic coaches, recruited men to mentor young boys and publicly responded to community crises involving violence toward women. It has also organized workplace education sessions and supported agency fundraising and awareness events related to the topic. To learn more, visit http://www.voicesofmen.com.

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Lori Van Handel
Willems Marketing
+1 (920) 750-5020
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Dave Willems
Voices of Men
(920) 750-5013
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