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Sexual assault survivor inspires students at Southern Utah University


CEDAR CITY (News4Utah) – On Tuesday, a sexual assault survivor talked to students at Southern Utah University.

Twenty years ago Brenda Tracy was brutally assaulted by four men, and at Southern Utah University she shared with students her very honest story.

“And I thought over time I’ll get stronger, I’ll stop crying, but I haven’t,” said Tracy speaking to students.

Hundreds of students attended the event, listening to Brenda share about being gang-raped, and sodomized, and from being suicidal to finding strength.

“I want to make sure what happened to me doesn’t happen to anyone else. That’s just really my goal. My goal is to get people to step up and step in and realize we’re all the solution,” said Tracy.

Brenda was invited to speak by University President Scott L Wyatt.

“The President of our University used to actually be a prosecutor for sexual assault. This was very near and dear to his heart and he wanted to have this type of education on our campus,” said Debbie Corum, SUU Athletic Director and Deputy Title IV Coordinator.

Two of the men who assaulted Brenda were Oregon State football players. She spoke directly to the athletes, as well as to the men in the room – telling them they are the solution.

“I realize that I’m not doing enough,” said athlete and SUU Junior Marcus Hastings.

”Ninety-eight percent of all sexual violence is carried out by men. But it’s about 10 to 15 percent of our male population committing these crimes which means like 90 percent of our men are good. They are not committing these crimes, so those are the men I talk to,” said Tracy.

“There’s been times when I’ve heard people say things like, just along the lines of joking and disrespecting women and it makes me realize like: Wow, like a lot of men really are silent because they don’t want to be that guy, you know what I mean. They don’t want to be that person: ‘Oh look at this dude snitching’, know what I mean? So it makes me realize that’s a problem. We need to talk to our friends, our best friends, our dads, our uncles, whatever, and just tell them: ‘Like look, don’t do that man, it’s not right,” said Hastings.

Tracy is the founder of Set The Expectations. At Southern Utah University they are holding events this week to raise awareness. One is on Wednesday: The Women’s Basketball game at 6:30.

At Brenda has a pledge she asks high school and college coaches to download – to set the expectation with their teams that sexual assault is never OK.

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