ASU, Stanford to raise awareness for sexual assault during game

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Both the Sun Devil and the Cardinal football teams will wear teal and purple ribbons on their helmets during Saturday’s game for the “Set the Expectation” campaign.

Set the Expectation asks college and high school athletes to sign a pledge committing the player to “stand up against sexism and violence against women and others,” as well as “pledge to only practice consensual sex.”

Brenda Tracy started the campaign a few years ago as part of her own personal healing. She says she was sexually assaulted by four men, two of them football players, at Oregon State University in 1999. After 16 years of dealing with depression and PTSD she decided to start meeting with football programs across the country.

“I try to humanize the issue. A lot of times we think ‘sexual assault happens to someone else over there.’ It’s kind of an abstract concept to us,” she explains.

Tracy has met with dozens of teams, urging young men to sign the pledge and spread the word.

“We set the expectation for people around us. It’s OK to respect women,” says Tracy. “If you see something say something. Be a good person, care about other people, take an interest in other people.”

The message has resonated with players like ASU wide receiver Ryan Newsome who says as a big brother of two young women, sexual assault gets his blood boiling.

“She got really emotional. And in a situation like that who wouldn’t,” said Newsome of Tracy’s visit with the team over the summer. “That’s somebody that really had to endure a lot of mental trauma, physical, and people not even really believing her.”

He’s taking his pledge seriously, watching out for women during parties and spreading a message to other men:

“Respect the boundaries. There are always boundaries that you, yourself should set. If you can’t do that then I don’t feel you respect yourself enough. If you don’t respect yourself how can you respect the person you’re interacting with,” said Newsome.

That sentiment means Tracy is making an impact, and she couldn’t be happier about it.

“That means everything to me! That means he could save a life! Right? Somebody could not go through what I went through because he’s decided that he’s going to make it his business to care about other human beings,” said Tracy.

Tracy and her family will be on the field during the match-up on Saturday to be honored. She says they’ll be having people sign pledges at the game in Stanford.

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