About Speaker Brenda Tracy
Brenda Tracy is a survivor. A warrior. An inspiration. She uses her story of strength, resilience and forgiveness to challenge audiences to set the expectation against sexual violence.
Sexual assault and domestic violence by athletes is something that we simply cannot ignore. There have been an alarming number of instances that have made headlines in recent years. The scary number is really how many of these instances go unnoticed, unpunished or worse – covered up. Many of the perpetrators are men. Thus, society has labeled men the problem. Now Brenda wants to challenge the status-quo and help men become a champion of the solution.
In 1998, Brenda was a single mother of 2. She was visiting a friend near Oregon State University when she was given a drink. She passed out and woke up to four men sexually assaulting her. Two of them were Oregon State football players. She tried to report the crime but was told she didn’t have a case. This led her down a dark and winding path that almost ended in suicide. Brenda came forward with her story in 2014 and realized the impact she could have in helping male athletes and coaches take an active approach to combating sexual violence. She has since impacted audiences at some of the biggest colleges and universities in the U.S. as well as high school athletic programs and other sports organizations.
Sexual violence is an uncomfortable topic. In fact, that’s one of things Brenda addresses in her speeches. The need to not shy away from the unsettling realities of suxual assault and the plight of survivors. She draws on her memories of that night in addition to the light at the end of the tunnel that saved her. In conclusion, she challenges her audience to be mindful of their power to affect change both positively and negatively.
Brenda’s movement and positive influence continues to grow with each event. As a result, Brenda launched her own nonprofit in 2016 called Set The Expectation. The ultimate goal of the foundation is to help men become the solution to this violence and support survivors. Set The Expectation has several key activations. See below for example:
- Commitment: Brenda asks coaches and athletes to sign a pledge against sexual violence
- Awareness: Host games and events to raise awareness surrounding the issue and empower survivors
- Giving Back: Support organizations and groups that serve survivors
- Education: Detailing her own experience and discussing consent, bystanding, and manhood
- Policy Reform: The Tracy Rule
That’s right! In addition to her motivational speeches, Brenda is also affecting policy change. The University of Texas at San Antonio is the first school to adopt The Tracy Rule. Essentially, the rule is a zero tolerance policy against sexual violence for any current or prospective athletes eligible to play at UTSA. It is a huge step forward for Brenda and her mission with more schools to follow.
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