Mike Domitrz, speaker, multi-book author and founder of The Date Safe Project, presented his hour-long, interactive “Can I Kiss You?” lecture series at Lawrence Monday, April 9. This presentation exposed the types of decisions college students face in intimate situations.
As the Executive Director of The Date Safe Project, Domitrz travels abroad to present his talks and to provide education to middle and high schools, parent groups and the military.
Domitrz began the lecture by incorporating audience volunteers into a mock scenario involving three students at a party. The simulated situation displayed a common interaction between students and alcohol. Domitrz guided the audience to the conclusion that fear was the most common reason students do not seek to prevent sexual assault.
Domitrz’s lecture wove together humor, such as when student volunteers acted out how one might ask to kiss a partner, and sobering tragedy, such as when he related the story of his sister’s rape. These juxtaposed emotions highlighted the show’s message about the dangerous reality of sexual assault.
Throughout the presentation, Domitrz kept the audience engaged with humorous and tense topics. He presented clear and easy solutions as to how one might avoid an awkward date and make sure that one’s partner is comfortable with different intimacy levels.
When he was questioned about whether or not asking for intimacy removes the romance from the situation, Domitrz cited Ryan Gosling’s character in ***The Notebook*** as an example of a man who asked first. He spoke on the difficulties of reading body language and the myth of the “mood,” claiming that it was not a question of the moment being ruined: The “mood” had been bad from the start.
Domitrz has been doing lectures on sexual assault for 20 years. He is averaging about 150 to 250 presentations a year throughout the world, and sees clear results.
Said Domitrz, “We consistently hear from people of all genders sharing success stories of how they used the skills from the ‘Can I Kiss You?’ show. To read the profound impact the results had on their life, and often on the lives of people they love, is moving and inspiring.”
These positive results, as well as the work still needed to be done, are what keeps the veteran lecturer going.
“Our society has a long way to go to increase bystander intervention, supporting [sexual assault] survivors and understand the significance of asking first,” he said.
Domitrz believes that one of the biggest problems facing the series is getting its message out to the public, and the solution to that is to start education early in life.
“Middle schools and high schools bring the program in to help their students get an earlier start to understanding healthy intimacy and sexual decision-making,” Domitrz said. “The more tools people have in their toolbox, the better a foundation of healthy relationships they are able to build.”
For more information on The Date Safe Project, visit the website www.DateSafeProject.org.