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Advocate brings his message to Marywood University

Last updated: August 25. 2013 11:32PM - 2747 Views
By - egodin@civitasmedia.com



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SCRANTON — Most women do not realize a sexual touch from their partner that is not consensual is considered rape, said Mike Domitrz, an anti-sexual violence advocate, before his lecture Sunday at Marywood University.


“They often say they did not realize they had a choice,” he said.


Domitrz, of Milwaukee, Wis., has been bringing his “Can I Kiss You?” dating safety program to colleges and high schools since 1992. This is his eighth year of greeting incoming Marywood students with this important message.


Dating safety is an issue that is frequently shied away from but with society’s prominent sexual messages, needs to be addressed, he said.


Sexual assault is not just a crime against women. Domitrz in his hour-long program notes two cases in which a man was a victim of rape.


According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, an anti-sexual violence organization, 44 percent of rape victims are under age 18, 30 percent are under 30 and 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.


Many victims hold back from reporting the assault thinking that they somehow caused the crime.


“There is only one person at fault – the rapist,” Domitrz said.


During the program, he discussed three main points: verbal consent, intervening to protect someone when alcohol is present and supporting someone who was assaulted.


Communication is a key ingredient to a strong relationship. Partners should feel comfortable to discuss their feelings, likes and dislikes, boundaries and dating history with each other before moving into a sexually relationship, he said.


“They should give each other an equal voice on the relationship,” he said. “You must be able to talk about it. If you cannot, that’s OK, too. Then slow down.”


In the new-found freedom of college life, many students will find themselves at parties where there is drinking. In these environments, one person could be trying to get another drunk to “hook up” with, he said.


Domitrz told students that if they hear of this or see it, get several friends together and go to the person in danger and get the individual out of there.


“Confront the person doing wrong with your group and tell him or her you are taking the other home safely,” he said.


Handling a confession from victim of rape is a delicate situation. Domitrz said the first thing to do is “not to ask who it was or what were they wearing; do not start with ‘I’m sorry.’ ”


“Thank them for sharing, and ask them how can you help,” he said.


Domitrz designed his program while in college after receiving a call that his sister was raped. The affect it had on his sister and his family fueled him to learn more about what crime.


He created “Can I Kiss You?,” datesafeproject.org and wrote three different books on date safety.


Domitrz hopes that by carrying out this message he will make students rethink the way they communicate within their relationships.


“I let the kids use Twitter during the program,” he said. “If you follow the conversation, their responses and comments are great.”


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