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Women’s Fund to Launch Phase II of Fond du Lac Says No More Initiative with Series of Men’s Focus Groups

Fond du Lac, Wis. – In response to an ongoing need to focus on the prevention of incidents of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, the Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund will launch the first in a series of men’s focus groups as part of Phase II of the Fond du Lac Says No More initiative.

The initiative, which got underway in 2018, is a collaborative effort amongst Agnesian Domestic Violence Programs, ASTOP Sexual Assault Services, Solutions Center, Fond du Lac Police Department and the Women’s Fund. Through various projects, including Project Table Talk and Green Dot Bystander Intervention Training, Phase I was designed to raise awareness about the overall prevalence of power-based violence throughout Fond du Lac County. 

With more than 730 individuals taking part in Green Dot training during 2019 and thousands of people exposed to Project Table Talk messaging since 2018, Phase II: Engaging Men and Boys in Ending Violence Against Women and Children will get under way March 12, as part of National No More Week. To begin this phase, Fond du Lac Says No More will embark on conducting a series of focus groups to determine how local men feel about the issue of violence in the community, what messaging they would best respond to and what solutions they can offer for real-life steps men and boys can take to make a difference.

“The engagement of men and boys in solving the issue of violence against women and children is necessary not just to impact the lives of women and girls throughout Fond du Lac County, but also to ensure that the voices of well-meaning men are heard,” said FDLA Women’s Fund Executive Director Maria Turner. “So often, we hear about the negative association of violence linked to men and although statistically, men are the primary perpetrators of violence against women and children, the reality is that most men are not violent at all. These listening sessions will give a platform for the good guys in the community to step forward and be heard on a topic that so often becomes confrontational, as though it has to be a men vs. women issue. We want to change that here in Fond du Lac County because violence is not purely a gender issue; violence is a human issue.”

To engage men, the FDLA Women’s Fund’s Community Education Committee determined it must first hear from men themselves, rather than create a campaign that falls short of reaching the target audience. 

“Through the work of our Community Education Committee, we know that in order to bring forth true community change, we need to have the voices of well-meaning men crafting the direction of this phase of the initiative,” Turner said. “We must have men as allies in this work in order for it to be fully successful. So to begin that process, we want to collect real-life input from the men who live and work here.” 

The first focus group – A Listening Session on Perceptions & Experiences Regarding Power-Based Violence in Our Community – will take place on Thursday, March 12 and will be facilitated by Pete Snyder of MPTC

It will be all men, but recorded so FDL Says No More partner agencies can go back and gain knowledge after-the-fact. 

Each focus group will consist of 10-12 participants. These will occur in a series of groups, broken down by age demographics that match most national health studies, as follow:

  • 18-24
  • 25-35
  • 36-54
  • 55-65
  • 66+

The first group will be 25- to 35-year-old men. This group was identified as the pilot for various reasons, but primarily because it represents the greatest amount of growth in a man’s life cycle with an array of differing experiences (for example: single/married/divorced men and fathers/men without kids). 

All of the groups will strive to create a racial mix that matches percentages adopted from FDL County Census Data. So, each group ideally will look like this:

  • 69% White (8 to 9 men) 
  • 9% African American (1 to 2 men)
  • 11% Latino/Hispanic (1 to 2 men)
  • 10% Multi-Racial (1 to 2 men)
  • 1% Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander (1 man)

It is also important to reflect the socio-economic makeup of FDL County, so drawing men from various backgrounds, utilizing employment data for the county, will also be considered to create groups, as follow: 

  • 40% manufacturing and/or trades (4 to 5 men)
  • 20% education and/or healthcare (3 to 4 men)
  • 10% hospitality (1 to 2 men)
  • 10% professional and/or business (1 to 2 men)
  • 10% unemployed and/or other occupation (1 to 2 men)

Finally, inclusion of individuals of differing sexual orientation will also be considered (as violence occurs in same-sex relationships at the same rate it occurs in heterosexual relationships); though, statistical data for the county for this demographic is not readily available nor obvious through simple observation.

Men interested in taking part in future focus group sessions are encouraged to contact Turner at the Women’s Fund at (920) 322-8778 or fdlawomensfund@gmail.com.

Posted on March 5, 2020

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