Vet Voices

Help center countering ‘toxic masculinity’ with pizza palooza


WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — You are not less of a man if you cry or if someone acts violently against you and you reach out for help. That’s the message one group is sending to the Ohio Valley this month. 

The Sexual Assault Help Center, SAHC for short, is a nonprofit in Wheeling and they’re hoping to bring fathers and sons together with a pizza palooza Father’s Day Weekend!

The males that we do serve a lot of time have a lot of barriers that they have to work through in order to even feel comfortable enough to say, ‘I’m a victim of sexual violence.’ 

Ashley Carpenter, Executive Director of Sexual Assault Help Center

The 24-hour rape crisis center helps victims of sexual violence from Wetzel to Hancock county. 

And their services are seeing an uptick. 

“Anywhere between five to seven hospital accompaniments each month.” 

Ashley Carpenter, Executive Director of Sexual Assault Help Center

While the group helps many women, men must not be forgotten. 

One in 31 West Virginia men will experience some sort of sexual violence in their lifetime. And then, one in six boys will experience sexual violence under the age of 18. So, it’s crucial that we celebrate, help, prevent and educate the community about masculinity and what that means. So, that when an individual does experience something like this, it doesn’t matter, they can come forward about it. 

Ashley Carpenter, Executive Director of Sexual Assault Help Center

Toxic Masculinity brings fear of showing emotions or talking about feelings. But SAHC hopes to break stereotypes with ‘healthy masculinity.’

I don’t think this community really has and event/fundraiser that really focuses on father and sons.

Ashley Carpenter, Executive Director of Sexual Assault Help Center

Five Ohio Valley pizzerias are participating: Vocelli’s, Original PJ’s Pizza, Greco’s, PepperBroni’s, and Around the World Gormet.  

Throughout June, if you head to one of those restaurants and donate in the People’s Choice Tip Jar for your favorite, you’re helping SAHC continue to help victims in our area. 

Five ‘father and little dude’ duos will be the judges on Facebook Live come June 18 at 6 PM where each father and son pair will work together to decide their favorite slice of pizza pie.  

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