Tim Mousseau, a researcher, public speaker and survivor of sexual assault, came to Hitchcock Hall on Monday to speak to students about the issues that surround sexual violence.
The event was hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government’s Health & Safety Committee to promote sexual violence awareness. Mousseau’s main focus was on “combating sexual violence, redefining masculinity and provoking change.”
He did this not by reciting statistics or lecturing the audience on correct behavior, but through stories, which he said he believes are the best way to reach people.
“We tell stories to unify people, and to get them to care,” Mousseau said. “We all experience stories together to form our communities, and we use stories to create change.”
According to his website, Mousseau has worked with more than 150 different organizations and spoke at more than 300 keynotes across the country, including addresses to college students, professionals, police officers, first responders and lawyers.
From stories of his own past as a survivor of sexual assault to stories about everyday interactions with friends, Mousseau said sexual violence and its consequences might not only be remedied through actions, but also through improved communication about the issues.
He also said we often talk about sexual violence in a way that makes victims feel ashamed, or even worse, responsible.
“Right now, so often the way we talk about sexual assault in this country is broken,” Mousseau said.
Maddy Perry, a third-year in accounting, was involved in the planning of the event and said Mousseau’s message is incredibly important.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on right now with the Me Too movement, the Kavanaugh hearings, the new Title IX reforms,” Perry said. “It’s so important to have colleges in the know because we are affected by this, Greek life is affected by this, really the whole campus is affected by this.”
Perry said she saw Mousseau at a Title IX conference in November and his story impacted her so much that she wanted to bring him to Ohio State.
“I think it’s really important to talk about what we can do. Instead of ‘you are the problem,’ it’s ‘what can we do to solve this together?’ I thought that was really important to bring to Ohio State,” Perry said.
Mousseau, who has spoken at dozens of other colleges and other events across the country, ended the presentation by talking about how important it is to look out for not only friends and family, but everyone we see.
“You take care of your people,” Mousseau demanded the audience. “You watch out for them.”