The Betsy’s Friends Peer Education Program is named after Simmons Alumna, Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ McCandless, ’71, who in 1992, lost her life to domestic violence at the hands of her estranged ex-husband. News of her violent death rocked the Simmons community. Betsy’s classmates, along with a number of staff members, came together to create the Betsy McCandless Memorial Fund in her name and launched a number of University-wide initiatives to spread awareness and education around the issues of gender-based violence.
Betsy’s Friends is a peer support group on campus that works with students to promote healthy partnerships by providing 1 to 1 peer support and weekly educational meetings. 1 to 1 peer support is run by peer supporters who are trained undergraduate students that can discuss relationships, being a survivor, how to help a friend, navigating resources on campus, and more. The Betsy’s Friends office also has a free library, free menstrual products, and free safer sex supplies for anyone to pick up! A few examples of meeting topics are how to foster an ideal partnership, how to help a friend, consent, and more.
Follow Betsy’s Friends on Instagram: @simmons_vpeo
Violence Prevention & Educational Outreach Program (VPEO)
The Simmons VPEO works to educate and spread awareness around forms of gender-based violence, prevent the occurrence of violence on our campus or impacting our community, familiarizing community members with Simmons policy and protocol to address and respond to these issues if they arise, and to support and advocate for student survivors of violence. We conduct weekly programming and hold weekly office hours for peer support. For more information, contact [email protected]. To schedule a meeting with our confidential resource, contact [email protected].