Vision

The vision of Beyond Tough Guise (BTG) is to move community norms beyond the guise or act of traditional male toughness which supports aggressive behavior, violence, abuse and disrespect. We embrace a balanced set of characteristics about masculinity which encourages and supports respect, responsibility, cooperation, non-violence, equality, honesty, relationships and community.

 

Mission of Beyond Tough Guise

The mission of Beyond Tough Guise is to reduce violence by improving the attitudes and behaviors of men and boys in the Winona Community, to encourage community members to live the BTG Characteristics* and encourage institutions to support the norms they represent, creating a sense of purpose and optimism as the foundation for a positive vision of masculinity that respects women and girls.

 

Key Beyond Tough Guise Accomplishments:

2004 – Viewing and discussion of “Tough Guise” movie in 11 community settings by over 125 people.
2005 –Characteristics for Men and Boys created and distributed throughout community.
2006 – Youth Action Theatre: Interactive troupe of high school students confronts violence & abuse.
2007 –  Forum 197: Community conversation by panel of leaders about abuse and violence.
2008 – Winona Co. Sexual & Domestic Violence Primary Prevention Project begins with Public Health survey.
2009 – Winona County implements the first “Clean Hotel” policy in the nation.
Over 100 community leaders attend trainings on prevention of sexual & domestic violence.
2010 –  Speakers Bureau formed: 14 trained for community presentations on primary prevention.
2011 – Primary prevention strategy introduced community-wide by full page ads in Winona Daily News.

 

About the Organization

SINCE  2004  WORKING  IN  WINONA  COMMUNITY  TO CREATE  A POSITIVE IMAGE  OF  MEN AND  BOYS  FOLLOWING THE 25TH YEAR OF THE WRC PROVIDING  ASSISTANCE  AND  SUPPORT  TO  WOMEN,  CHILDREN   AND  MEN SURVIVORS  OF  SEXUAL  AND  DOMESTIC   VIOLENCE.

OVER   A DOZEN  CHURCHES,  SCHOOLS,  AGENCIES &  ORGANIZATIONS   WORKED COOPERATIVELY   TO  CREATE  BTG.

WE CREATED  CHARACTERISTICS FOR MEN  &  BOYS:  SPECIFIC   BEHAVIORS  TO BE RESPECTFUL,  COOPERATIVE,  HONEST,  SAFE,  RESPONSIBLE  AND  NONVIOLENT.

In 2006, YOUTH  ACTION  THEATRE:  TROUPE  OF  WSHS  STUDENTS  ACTING  OUT  SKITS  OF  ABUSIVE  BEHAVIOR  AND  ASKING  STUDENTS  TO SUGGEST RESPECTFUL  ALTERNATIVES –  IN  MIDDLE  AND  HIGH  SCHOOL.

PARTICIPATED IN STATEWIDE MEETINGS AND RETREATS WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS TO EXAMINE HOW WE COULD PREVENT VIOLENCE TO WOMEN BEFORE IT HAPPENED in WINONA COUNTY.

In NOV. 2007, STARTED MEETING  WITH  WINONA  COUNTY  COMMUNITY  HEALTH  SERVICES  AND WRC STAFF  TO   PUT TOGETHER  A  COUNTY ACTION   PLAN FOR THE PRIMARY  PREVENTION  OF  SEXUAL  AND  DOMESTIC  VIOLENCE  – FINALIZED ON 9/9/08.  WE WANTED TO BUILD A BROAD COALITION.

WE STRONGLY  BELIEVES  THAT  IT’S UP TO US, THE MEN  IN  WINONA  COUNTY  MUST  STEP  FORWARD  TO TAKE  THE  LEAD  IN  PREVENTING  THESE CRIMES AGAINST  WOMEN   AND  CHILDREN.

These people are our daughters, wives, sisters, aunts, nieces, mothers and friends – What are we willing to make this a safer community for them?

We want to support more men finding their voices and speak out to stop the violence – to talk to young men about being strong and respectful of women.

WE’RE NOT GUILTY BECAUSE WE’RE MEN – WE’RE RESPONSIBLE BECAUSE WE’RE MEN – WE CAN’T BE NEUTRAL WITH THIS MUCH VIOLENCE TOWARD THE WOMEN WE CARE ABOUT

DO YOUR PART – STOP IT BEFORE IT STARTS

It cost Minnesota $ 8 Billion in 2005.  It’s preventable.  It happened to 61,000 residents. Four out of five were female. There were 77,000 incidents. What is it?   Sexual violence.

Each of us needs to do our part.  Business leaders, clergy, educators, truckers, managers, factory workers, elected officials, students, lawyers, farmers, parents, grandparents, cab drivers, retail workers, scout leaders and people of all kinds can participate.

We’ve met with service clubs, to describe the process of changing the social norms and environment – we’ve not had the ability to go back and follow-up on the contacts we’ve made.

The 2011 MN femicide report, describes the killing of 30 adults, 23 women, 6 family, friends or interveners, 4 children and 1 man all due to domestic violence.

MANY WE KNOW ARE WELL-MEANING MEN – IT’S TIME WE CLAIM THE COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY WE HAVE IN ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN – TO LONG HAVE WE MADE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN A ‘”WOMEN’S ISSUE.”  Well-meaning men must make it a man’s issue.

95% of the assaults to the women and girls in our community are at the hands of men.  How do our cute 3 year old boys become rapists and abusers by 16 or 18?   We have to teach our boys early and often what it means to be a man – that women deserve honor and respect, and that violence never equals strength.

WE MUST GET OUT OF THE MAN BOX WHERE WOMEN ARE LESS VALUED AND DISRESPECTED, SEEN AS PROPERTY OR OBJECTS TO BE USED FOR OUR PLEASURE AND TO BE MADE FUN OF.

University students in fraternities and other student organizations have asked us to help examine their social environments and help them change the cultural norms that encourage assaults by young men. BEST Party model ideas.

We want to help students create media that reach other young people with primary prevention messages.   Like more ads for newspapers, short videos for placement in movie theatres, place mats for restaurants, radio public service announcements and billboards.

Finding businesses that will pay to have these media pieces placed throughout the community – to influence our community norms and environment.  Strong sexual harassment policies and evaluate workplace environment for safety and equitability.

We want help people understand the danger of violent pornography and how to help their children stay away from it – that it restricts women’s freedom and is the basis for much inequality.

In 2009, Clean Hotels Policy implemented in Winona county – first in the nation – draws attention to the harm of pornography. That it teaches men how to sexually degrade women.

We want to assist businesses, schools, faith communities, service groups and institutions to adopt policies that will help prevent sexual and domestic assault and to promote the prevention media messages young people will create.

We’ve talked with boy and cub scout leaders, high school teachers, and agency staff about integrating BTG characteristics into their programs for boys – many are interested, but we just don’t have the people to sit down and make the specific plans needed to implement these great ideas.

This is about greater freedom and justice for the women we love and care about. What security do they have that they will not be dismissed, degraded, dominated or assaulted?

How much talent, innovation and ideas have been lost by women being assaulted and unable to have the energy and emotional strength to offer their skills to the community?

We have to learn to listen to women’s stories, believe them and understand women’s reality – that it’s different from ours. We want to provide opportunities for that to happen.

When men just want to have a little fun, what happens to women? Jokes, grabbing,  getting women drunk to take advantage of them.

It takes courage to be strong, vulnerable, compassionate, and an ally to women in the face of the male culture we live in.  We don’t have to loose our strength to respect women – it makes us a stronger man.

Our silence in the face of these assaults to the women in our community indicates acceptance, we have to be clear we won’t accept this.

 

2009 Mens Forum Poster