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Brenda Tracy

2016 Special Courage Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

Brenda Tracy | Special Courage Award
Salem, Oregon

Brenda Tracy was brutally gang raped by four men in 1998, two of whom were college football players associated with Oregon State University. Ms. Tracy reported the crime to police and underwent an invasive forensic examination. Although law enforcement collected extensive evidence, including confessions from her attackers, the District Attorney refused to prosecute her case. 

She was never advised of her victims’ rights or informed when officials destroyed her evidence three years prior to the statute of limitations. 

Sixteen years later in November 2014, when recent media stories revealed that hundreds of young college-aged women still struggle to find safety and justice on college campuses, Ms. Tracy found the courage to come forward to tell her story publicly. 

She told her story in the media, on campuses, in front of legislative committees, and to individual legislators. She spoke up in a way that engaged her listeners and helped them understand the severity of the physical, psychological, and emotional impact of sexual assault. Her story and her work is changing the landscape of sexual assault prevention and response in Oregon and nationally. 

She has worked closely with Oregon legislators to expand victims’ rights and has successfully helped to extend the Oregon Statute of Limitations to prosecute rapists and helped pass two other laws that provide protection and resources for campus sexual assault victims. 

Ms. Tracy is currently employed as a Registered Nurse for a dialysis company, where she is part of a mobile team covering 11 Portland/Vancouver area hospitals. She is engaged in numerous awareness-raising outreach efforts and is now a consultant for Oregon State University—the very place where her rape occurred. Despite the tragedy and injustice of her experience, she has dedicated her life to advocating for victims and survivors.

2016 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this video to learn more about Brenda Tracy, 2016 recipient of the Special Courage Award.