By Sachel HarrisJune 22, 2016
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, ALASKA -- Soldiers and Airmen roared with laughter Wednesday in the Frontier Theater here during the Date Safe Project seminar, "Can I Kiss You," an interactive training presentation dealing with issues of sexual assault, prevention and response.
The show was performed by Mike Domitrz, an educator, and award-winning author and publisher, who travels the world speaking on various topics related to consent.
During the show, Domitrz opens up and shares his honest views on how to improve society's approach to healthy dating, provides a better understanding of how consent is obtained in intimacy, reveals the keys to effective bystander intervention with alcohol and sexual activity, and teaches how to properly support survivors of sexual assault, a situation he is all too familiar with.
After his older sister was raped in 1989, the devastation and trauma he, his sister and their family went through motivated Domitrz to educate people on the importance of consent to help prevent sexual assault.
"When I found out what happened to my sister, all I could think about was killing the guy who did that to her," he said. "But then I had a wake up call: why did I have a reason to be angry at the guy who raped my sister when I stood by on many occasions and watched people get hit on by potential rapists, guys I could have stopped?"
He discovered that by addressing a serious issue through laughter, people started to listen. And once they were listening, he was able to explain what comes with being sexually assaulted and how big of a role bystanders really play.
Domitrz's interactive discussion with the audience focused on what 'to' do versus what 'not' to do including stepping in when you see someone being taken advantage of, asking if you could kiss someone and asking them what they want intimately instead of assuming. Not just appealing to the single service members, Domitrz said these things, though sometimes awkward, even in marriage, show your partner you respect them by giving them a choice.
"Because I'm married, we don't go out often, but I will definitely make it a habit to always ask her how I can please her and not just assume," said Spc. Edward Bautista, representing the Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion of the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment. "It's important to always be on the same page."
During the presentation, Domitrz asked his audience to imagine themselves at a bar with friends witnessing their friend 'Aaron' - who's had a bit too much to drink - being taken advantage of by 'Jordan,' someone wanting to 'hook up.
One of the problems with sexual assault, Domitrz said, is that people become bystanders and take no action.
"It's your business what happens to another human being right in front of you when they're in a dangerous and vulnerable situation," Domitrz said. "Your natural reaction as a human being is to care for another human being."
Closing his show, Domitrz relayed the importance of consent and how, in the long run, stopping a potentially dangerous situation and asking for permission - regardless of any awkwardness - would be well worth it.
"Ask first. Intervene more often. Support survivors coming forward. If you do those three things...if you do one of those things, together we can transform a culture."
For more information on Mike Domitrz, his one-man presentation, "Can I Kiss You," and the Date Safe Project, visit DateSafeProject.org.