Project 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.


In 2010, data provided by the Women’s Resource Center of Winona indicates that courts issued 31 Orders for Protection and 39 harassment restraining orders in Winona County, 148 new domestic violence related charges were filed, 125 primary sexual assault clients were served at the WRC, 50 of those were 17 or younger and 75 were 18 or older. Also in 2010, a MN Women’s Foundation Study found that 1 in 3 Minnesota women are sexually assaulted and/or physically abused in their lifetimes

Clearly, many more women are assaulted in Winona County than seek assistance.
In a July 2007 report, the MN Department of Health found that the costs for sexual violence in MN was $8 billion in 2005 and the cost per sexual assault was $184,000 for children & $139,000 for adults. It will take more than the efforts of the criminal justice system and services to victims to achieve a major reduction in these crimes in our community.  The community norms and environment must change.

Primary Prevention Strategy: Stopping Violence Before it Starts – Activity focus:  Building deep community ownership through training and skill building for future violence prevention. Alot of behavior in the past has been tolerated claiming that “boys will be boys” or that spouses must work out their own problems with abuse. Today, we’re seeing that the consequences of these traditional attitudes and behavior are at the root of men’s abuse and violence.  Violence continues across generations. This is a complex social problem that can be addressed by the concerted effort underway and envisioned in Winona.

*See attached brochure: Characteristics for Men and Boys.

Goal One: Engage institutions, community organizations and businesses to change community norms and environments to promote primary prevention of sexual and domestic violence.


A. Develop and implement school and organizational policies to change community norms and environments by promoting “Upstander” activities encouraging responsibility and respect.

B. Expand Clean Hotels policies to decrease the negative effects of sexually violent and degrading materials (pornography) on work & social environments and community norms.


*1)   Engage student leaders & teachers/professors in high schools and universities to discuss procedures for men to be “Upstanders” in environments where other men are making degrading or abusive comments about women or are contemplating assaults on women.

*2)   Meet with leaders of institutions and organizations to gain their support and assistance to develop
education and training programs for students to learn “Upstander” skills and policies to incorporate these activities in regular programming.

*3)   Provide opportunities for women survivors of sexual assaults to inform and educate men about the realities of sexual assault & date rape and to believe the stories women tell about their experiences.

*4)   Assist community leaders in understanding the effects of sexually violent and degrading materials on

a) users, b) women & children and c) the community. Promote the adoption of Clean Hotels policies in agencies, businesses, institutions and organizations in the Winona area to limit these effects.

Goal Two:

Work with youth and young adults to promote Gender Equality in the Winona Area. Reduce the effects of sexually violent &degrading material (pornography). Create and promote media materials that demonstrate respect for women and girls.


A.  Assist young people to create, for their peers, audio/visual materials which change the norms and environment to build respect for women and girls.

B. Encourage young people to understand the problems created by sexually degrading and violent material (pornography).

Assist community organizations and businesses to support the creation of student materials
by sponsoring contests and selecting the best materials, providing rewards for them, and supporting placement of them in local media.


    *1)   Inform, educate, promote competition among students at the middle school, high school and
university levels to receive prizes within each level for the best short audio or visual ad, poster,
cartoon, comic or other medium.

  • Create panels of sponsoring businesses, organizations and media professionals and prepare them with information on primary prevention to judge the student materials to determine the best.
  • Schedule public events to identify the best materials and promote their use in the media and community sites.

Collaboration with state and local agencies:

Since its beginning, BTG has worked closely with existing organizations already engaged in efforts to stop sexual and domestic violence to learn from their experiences and build on their understanding of the problem and solutions. At the state level, training and technical assistance from the MN Dept. of Health helped in the formative stages of the organization and years of consultation from the MN Men’s Action Network: An Alliance to Prevent Sexual & Domestic Violence was key in focusing on primary prevention strategies.  Locally, the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Resource Center of Winona was the impetus for founding BTG, its guidance and support has been invaluable in developing activities which complement advocacy services for victims.  BTG has worked closely with the Winona County Sexual & Domestic Violence Primary Prevention Project in community prevention efforts.  The Winona Community Foundation serves as the fiscal sponsor for Beyond Tough Guise.


Adopted September 17, 2008

Reduce violence by improving the attitudes and behaviors of men and boys in the Winona  Community.  Encourage community members to live the BTG Characteristics and institutions to support the norms they represent. Create a sense of purpose and optimism as the foundation for a positive vision of masculinity.

In 96% of sexual and domestic violence incidents to women & girls, the offender was a man or boy (US Department of Justice).

$ 8 Billion was the cost of Sexual Violence in Minnesota in 2005 (MN Dept of Health).

92% of Winona County citizens in February 2008 responded YES to the question: “Do you support more community education on domestic and sexual violence” (WC Community Health).

The behavior and attitudes of boys can be changed most effectively between the ages of 10-15 years.  Research is beginning to indicate that while boys are still connected to institutions, universal prevention is possible (Family Violence Prevention Fund).

Goal One:
Increase the safety and well-being of women, children, and men by partnering with Winona County Community Health Department to create and implement primary prevention strategies to stop community violence.


1.Develop strategies for changing organizational practices in organizations that work with youth to support the BTG characteristics.

Activities:  Meet with leaders of elementary, middle & high schools, faith communities and programs supporting youth in Winona to get their suggestions for integrating the BTG characteristics into their programs.

2. Assist community leaders in understanding the need for coalition building and organizational practice changes to support Winona men and boys to live the BTG characteristics:

Activities:  Make presentations to and organize strategy sessions with business and government leaders, service clubs, faith communities, PTA’s, community organizations, professional organizations and community education classes.

3. Organize men to speak privately and publicly in their unique position to live out and support the BTG characteristics to prevent violence.

Activities: Find and disseminate materials designed for men about violence prevention. Plan meeting for men with motivational speakers and audio/visual information to provide support for communicating publicly about stopping violence and abuse.

4. Hold community-wide presentations/forums on community violence prevention.

Activities:  Invite motivational speakers and encourage the sharing of personal stories of Winona men and boys living the BTG characteristics.

Goal Two:
Prevent sexual and domestic violence in Winona County by changing the behavior and attitudes of potential perpetrators: Encourage high school and middle school boys to live the BTG Characteristics.


1. Teach/train male WSU students to function as violence prevention educators for HS and MS boys in Winona county – teaching the BTG Characteristics.

Activities: An advocacy training class starting fall 2008 at WSU will provide basic training for female students to be victim advocates.  Male students could be encouraged to participate in this class to get basic training to be violence prevention educators.  Expand/create mentoring programs for Middle and High school boys to include BTG Characteristics.  Encourage WSU students to use the new WSU Service Learning Program to work in Winona county schools with boys after completing above training class.    HS boys like to hear from college men about life after HS.  Cooperate with existing mentoring programs in Winona (Big Brothers/Big Sisters; Miller Mentoring; Restorative Justice Mentoring) to incorporate the BTG characteristics into their work with young men.

2. Cooperate with supportive organizations/agencies to implement the above objective.

Activities:  Talk with WAPS counselors and teachers to create support at the schools for the work of the WSU violence prevention educators. Meet with PTA organizations to explain and ask for implementation suggestions and support for the BTG Characteristics in school setting.

3. Build a support network for men and boys wanting to live the BTG Characteristics:

Activities: Organize a Winona Men Of Strength (MOST) Club  for HS boys.  Encourage an organization for WSU men for ongoing dialogue about implementing the BTG characteristics on campus.  Revive the Youth Action Theatre at the Alternative Learning Center to encourage young people to recognize abuse situations and methods of responding to them with positive alternatives.