Innovative sexual-harassment training sweeps U.S. Army Europe
May 1, 2012
HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Members of the U.S. Army in Europe gathered at the Patrick Henry Village Theater to listen to "Can I Kiss You," April 26, a show about innocent bystanders and the importance of communication in a relationship.
The show is part of The Date Safe Project, a program aimed at preventing sexual assault by teaching audiences about consent, bystander intervention and supporting the victims of sexual assault.
"The Date Safe Project is all about helping people have healthier, safer, smarter intimacy," said Mike Domitrz, founder of The Date Safe Project and presenter for "Can I Kiss You." "We work to reduce sexual assault and we also provide support for survivors."
Domitz is the author of a book called "May I Kiss You," a how-to book on relationships, and is the editor of "The Voices of Survivors," a compilation of stories written by survivors of sexual assault. His show, while on an installation, is geared toward making people aware of how it can affect service members and units when someone is victim to a sexual assault.
"We have three main missions when we are on an installation; we teach how we can verbally communicate for consent, how to intervene when somebody is using alcohol to facilitate a sexual assault, and how to support survivors," Domitrz said. "What is unique about our program is that it is fully integrated for single and married people."
Even though Domitrz's show has a serious message to convey to his audience he does so by mixing a bit a stand-up comedy into his routine.
"I loved his show," Sgt. 1st Class Maria Mizcles, senior human resource sergeant for NATO in Heidelberg, Germany. "This shows people how to have the courage to step forward and take control of a situation before a sexual assault happens."
While in college, Dormitz received a phone call from his mother; she told him his sister had been sexually assaulted. The event made Dormitrz compelled to spend a majority of his time and effort on educating the public on sexual assault awareness.
"After my sister was raped I wanted to change the discussion on how people were discussing rape," Domitrz said. "We wanted to make it pertinent to people's ever-day lives, and how they have their relationships."
After the sexual assault against his sister, Domitrz decided to not only speak up about sexual assault; he decided to motivate others to make a change.
Ever since, Domitrz has been traveling the country conducting one-hour programs teaching safe-dating habits with an emphasis on communication and mutual respect. He has been speaking about the subject for more than 20 years and touring for the past 10 years.
"Sexual assault is a society-wide issue," Domitrz said. "Whether I am speaking at a college campus, at a middle school, high school or the U.S. military, all ages, we need to discuss verbal respect for partners, decision making and boundaries."
For more information about The Date Safe Project and future shows visit http://www.datesafeproject.org/