Victim advocates speak out on Mel Tucker suspension

Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 7:49 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Local advocates are speaking out in support of Brenda Tracy, the woman accusing Michigan State University head football coach Mel Tucker or sexual harassment.

As the dispute between Tucker and Tracy continues, organizations that help victims find support are sharing their sympathy for what Tracy is going through and reminding people why victim support matters. Information first reported by USA Today alleges that Tucker sexually harassed Tracy, a rape survivor and, in a phone conversation.

Director of Law and Policy at the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, Johanna Kononen said it’s easy for people to struggle to believe a victim in any case of sexual assault or harassment, because of the longstanding stigma surrounding the issue; but that attitude often worsens when the person accused in a well-known figure like Tucker, one of the highest paid employees in the state of Michigan.

Kononen said that’s why support for Tracy, who’s also a sexual violence prevention advocate, and other victims, is crucial.

“It’s the work of people like her, and advocates who help survivors come forward with these stories,” she said. “It’s really important for survivors to have that support, have someone in their corner saying, I believe you, and I’m going to walk with you in this journey.”

Kononen added that it’s common for survivors to experience sexual assault or harassment more than one time, because they’re a victim often sought after by abusers.

She said it’s never too late to take a stand against sexual harassment.

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