“If women could stop sexual harassment they would have done it by now. Men are part of the solution too, and we need to make them aware of how they can help.” This was a part of Brenda Tracy’s message in her sexual harassment presentation on Feb. 27.
Tracy, a sexual assault victim, travels around the country to share her story and promote her cause.
In 1998 she was gang-raped by four men, two of which were athletes for the Oregon State University football team. When she wanted to prosecute her case was swept under the rug, the athletes only received a one-game suspension and she was ostracized from her community. The incident was ignored because a rape scandal would negatively affect the renovation of Oregon State’s Reser Football Stadium.
As Tracy told her story to the audience that filled nearly one-third of the America First Event Center, she became emotional and explained how much this one incident affected her life. Even though her specific case is no longer able to be opened, Tracy wants to make sure that both the violence and the ignorance in the aftermath of her sexual assault doesn’t happen to anyone else.
Since coming forward with her story in 2014 Tracy has become an active lobbyist, helping to create and pass seven bills and laws pertaining to sexual harassment and what is done with evidence from those cases. She went on to receive her Associate’s degree in nursing from Portland Community College, a Bachelor of Science and eventually her MBA so she could help other victims as well.
The Set the Expectation campaign was started by Tracy to help raise awareness about sexual harassment, specifically in sports but also in general. The goal of the campaign is to move toward coaches and athletes taking accountability in a way that isn’t legally binding and to motivate people to set boundaries and be part of the solution to sexual violence.
In addition, Tracy said, “The campaign is geared toward men because often men aren’t taught how to be part of the solution even though they are a vital part of it. We all need to commit to changing the culture of sexual violence and set the expectation.”
Visit here for more about Set the Expectation campaign and Brenda’s story.