LEWISBURG, Pa. -- As part of an ongoing commitment to providing quality leadership and social education opportunities for student-athletes, the Bucknell Department of Athletics and Recreation on Thursday hosted Mike Domitrz, founder of "The Date Safe Project" and a nationally known speaker and advocate for healthy relationships. Bison student-athletes attended one of two shows in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, entitled "Can I Kiss You?", with a focus on the hook-up culture on college campuses and how to prevent sexual assaults.
Driven to become an advocate for sexual assault victims by the rape of his sister in 1989, Domitrz's lively, humorous and interactive session focused on bystander intervention, particularly in situations where alcohol is involved; how to obtain mutual consent in potentially intimate situations; how to support survivors of sexual assault; and how student-athletes can take on a leadership role in this important area on college campuses.
Domitrz noted that a number of recent, high-profile sexual assault cases have promulgated a national perception that student-athletes are more likely to be involved in that kind of behavior. If Bucknell student-athletes can stand up for their classmates and intervene in situations that appear to be headed down the wrong path, that reputation would end quickly.
Student-athletes were called to the stage on two occasions for some role-playing. In one situation, Domitrz explained how to avoid crossing the line in intimate settings, simply by asking a partner for consent. His "Can I Kiss You?" theme urges individuals to re-examine their dating behavior, and Domitrz also spent time dealing with what to do when the answer is "No." Following the presentation, attendees were given wristbands imprinted with the words, "Ask First/Respect the Answer."
Domitrz also urged the audience to reach out to friends and loved ones with the message, "if you have ever been touched by someone inappropriately, I am here for you." Many sexual assault survivors never report the incident, but Domitrz noted that the simple-yet-powerful "I am here for you" message can be all it takes for the survivor to seek help if needed.
Domitrz travels around the world speaking to high school and college students, military personnel and parents to promote safe dating and healthy relationships. Next month he will be in Djibouti and Bahrain speaking to troops on this topic.