OU Coach Francis, a Victim of Abuse, Honored for Courage
The Oakland University women's basketball coach will receive a "Most Courageous Award" during NCAA Final Four.
Beckie Francis, the Oakland University women's basketball coach who made headlines in the fall for revealing publicly that she was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, has received a badge of courage from a national association.
On Thursday, the United States Basketball Writers Association awarded Francis with the "Pat Summit Most Courageous Award," which she will receive at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans.
In the fall, Francis spoke out about her past, disclosing in an Associated Press story that she was sexually assaulted by her dad from age 4 until she was in the seventh grade. She came forward with her story, she said, because she was tired of hearing about cases of sexual assault in schools, churches and everywhere else.
Francis became working on the passage of legislation, called "Erin's Law," that requires states to provide age-appropriate education for students regarding sexual assault; that law went into effect in Michigan in January.
“No one wants to talk about the topic of sexual abuse,” said Francis in a press release from the university. “It’s uncomfortable. But that kind of reluctance is what we have to fight against.
"Sharing my story has made me free and I hope that sharing my story inspires others to tell and get help just like I did. Educating children about how to ‘get away and tell today’ is the first step and Erin’s Law will give kids the knowledge they need.
“I am very honored and humbled to receive this award."
Francis has led the Golden Grizzlies to 227 wins, which ranks second in program history.