She’s Taking On Rape Culture In Sports. Here’s Why Athletes Should Be Eager To Sign Her Pledge Against Sexual Assault.

Listen up.

Brenda Tracy is no stranger to combatting sexual violence. She goes around the country telling her own extremely personal story about being gang-raped in 1998 in the hopes of making a difference. But, now, Tracy is taking a national approach with the Set the Expectation pledge.

The point of the pledge, aimed at male college and high school athletes, is to move toward young men and their coaches taking accountability in a way that isn't legally binding. It can at least be the blueprint for coaches, who determine the athlete's place on the team and their playing time, to have an open discussion about consent, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

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"I think America is actually ready for us to start in high schools now," Tracy told USA Today about the decision to include high schoolers and a spot for their parents to sign on the pledge. "I think we're finally thinking we should probably be having this conversation earlier than college."

In the video for the movement, Tracy asks just how far we've actually come in addressing these horrific events in the 20 years since her traumatizing event. It then goes on to detail just a handful of cases in which young women were sexually mistreated. It also features an eloquent and hard-hitting quote from Tracy: "Rape is the attempted murder of one's spirit and soul."

Starting this early, Tracy believes, will lead to changing the culture by instilling what is considered acceptable behavior in young men. It will help high school athletes realize that their decisions can affect whether or not they get to play in college, and college athletes that their decisions can affect whether or not they get to play in the professional leagues.

"So now everybody has a vested interest in making sure they are grooming this kid to make sure he's not committing these acts," Tracy explained. "So that's the biggest part for me about Set the Expectation is sending the message to everyone that you should be having this conversation or eligibility is at risk."

Tracy also believes that this could extend to helping keep those higher up in schools accountable if they go on the record that they're against any ill-conceived acts toward women

"By signing this pledge, you and your players are committing to be leaders in changing the culture of violence at your school, in your community, in your state, and ultimately in the entire nation," Tracy concludes the video. "You have the opportunity to be the solution. Set the expectation."

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