Fighting Ignorance and Rape through Education
FIRE! Sexual assault peer educators are a collective of Western Michigan University students committed to educating their peers and others in the WMU community about sexual assault risk reduction and prevention. FIRE’s vision is to create a campus culture that actively and effectively responds to sexual assault in an attempt to eradicate it from the WMU campus and ultimately, society at large. Our program provides education on support services for survivors and strategies for ending sexual assault on our campus and in our community.
Sexual Assault Peer Educators are WMU students who are highly trained on educating around the issue of sexual assault and in helping survivors, their families, and friends. FIRE members have the opportunity to participate in peer education, program/event planning, providing supportive services and other awareness/education activities. They present on the topic of sexual assault to classrooms, residence halls, etc., helping students, faculty and staff to understand how and why sexual assault happens and what we can do to change our campus culture. We also provide written materials for students and training programs for faculty members.
FIRE organizes various programs, on and off campus, including Take Back the Night, an annual event that aims to empower survivors of sexual assault through keynote speakers, a march through campus, and speak-outs from survivors, supporters, and advocates. The unifying theme of Take Back the Night is the assertion that all human beings have the right to be free from violence, the right to be heard, and the right to reclaim those rights if they are violated.
FIRE members are required to participate in a set number of presentations per semester and are encouraged to get involved in other ways through committees and planning. Members must participate for at least two semesters.
Our program goals are to:
- Educate students about the definitions of sexual harassment and assault by providing spaces for discussion. This includes issues of consent, force, myths about rape, the relationship of alcohol and drugs to sexual assault and the concept of “victim blaming.”
- Teach students skills in helping someone who discloses a sexual assault.
- Educate students about the available resources for survivors of sexual assault on and off campus.
- Provide campus-wide outreach to a variety of students, as well as faculty and staff on campus.
- Include people of all gender identities in the process of educating and raising awareness about sexual assault, while highlighting men's ability to prevent violence against all people.
Our broader goals are to:
- Contribute to a campus-wide response to gender-based violence.
- Educate faculty and staff on issues related to sexual assault.
- Advocate for funding of comprehensive and accessible on-campus and community services for survivors.
- Encourage training of all campus law enforcement on gender-based violence.
- Form partnerships with local victim service programs and criminal justice agencies.
- Focus a great deal of time and attention on first-year students.
benefits of being a peer educator
- Develop the ability to effectively present complex and sensitive information to small and large audiences.
- Grow in confidence and leadership skills.
- Build your resume for graduate school and/or employment.
- Earn letters of recommendation.
- Fulfill internship or field experience requirements for your degree.
- Learn to plan and execute large and small scale campus events.
- Learn to effectively advocate for positive change in sexual assault services and survivor support.
- Become part of a growing movement to end sexual assault at Western Michigan University and in the larger society as a whole.
Interested in joining?
If you are interested in joining the FIRE Sexual Assault Peer Educators, please fill out an application here.
Return completed applications to the Office of Health Promotion and Education in 3120 Sindecuse Health Center or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to learn more about FIRE Place or the FIRE Sexual Assault Peer Educators, please email Danielle Snow at email@example.com.
You may also want to learn more about our resource and support center that addresses the issues of sexual assault and other bias incidents.