Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh named Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault survivor and activist, as the University of Michigan football team’s honorary captain this Saturday.
Tracy was sexually assaulted by four Oregon State University football players in 1998. She publicly came forward with her story in 2014, and has worked with athletic programs around the country with her campaign #SetTheExpectation in 1998.
#SetTheExpectation is dedicated to educating high school and college athletes and coaches about sexual violence and working to make them to be part of the solution.
In August, Tracy visited the Michigan football team to share her story. Shortly after, Harbaugh invited her to serve as the team’s honorary captain for the opening game against Western Michigan University.
“At the time the media was overrun with multiple news stories of sexual abuse and domestic violence coming out of Ohio State and as an advocate, I was feeling somewhat defeated, but after sharing my story and my pain, I left the team room that day feeling encouraged and inspired,” Tracy states on her GoFundMe page.
In a press conference following the game, Harbaugh expressed his and his team’s appreciation for Tracy’s advocacy.
“We all learned so much from Brenda,” Harbaugh said in the press conference. “I did personally and I know all our guys did. She’s amazing. Her story is amazing; her work is amazing; what she’s accomplishing is amazing. The guys really appreciate her. Not just the level of adversity, but what she’s done with her life and how she’s impacting anybody that will listen.”
On Sept. 4, Tracy announced via Twitter she started a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $25,000 for the SafeHouse Center. The SafeHouse Center is a non-profit organization located in Ann Arbor that provides support for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors of Washtenaw County. Their services include emergency shelter, counseling, support groups, and legal advocacy.