Fort McCoy News Jan. 22, 2016

Communication, respect focus of 'Can I Kiss You?'

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Hundreds of Fort McCoy community members attended at least on of five events Jan. 10-11 as part of the "Can I Kiss You?" program brought to the installation by Army Community Service (ACS) and program founder Mike Domitrz.

Domitrz of Milwaukee is a nationally known speaker on sexual-assault prevention and is the founder of The Date Safe Project and the "Can I Kiss You?" program. His book "May I Kiss You?" serves as a guide for the program covering dating, communication, respect, and sexual-assault awareness.

The four "Can I Kiss You?" presentations — one for the 86th Training Division, two in building 905 for adults, and one at the South Post Community Center — were aimed at teens, young adults, and parents. He also held a question-and-answer session at McCoy's Community Center for people who had additional questions.

The presentation focuses on the importance of intimacy and making sure consent is given, Domitrz said. It discusses bystander intervention, which teaches people how to intervene when they see someone using alcohol, drugs, or any substance to try to facilitate a sexual assault.

Photo
Michael Domitrz (right), founder of The Date Safe Project in Milwaukee,
leads an interactive discussion with Fort McCoy community members
during "Can I Kiss You?" training in building 905. Domitrz is a nationally known speaker on sexual-assault prevention.

The presentation also offers ways to open the door to colleagues, loved ones, Family, and friends who might have been sexually assaulted.

Domitrz said the interaction with his all audiences went well.

"We went over a broad base of issues and topics to discuss and share," Domitrz said. "At the 86th (for example), we had a very interactive group. We talked about using effective skills in intervention and supporting (sexual-assault) survivors both in your own life and in the Soldiers you lead. We had a lot of people in that room who were leaders."

At the South Post presentation with parents and teens, Domitrz said they discussed the importance of applying respect and boundaries in relationships and dating, particularly for teens.

"We talked about the right age to date and how you might know when you are ready to date," Domitrz said.

"Helping teenagers and parents know when a child is ready (to date) will help them all make better choices when they are in those situations."

Garrison Victim Advocate Sarah Sullivan with ACS and the Fort McCoy Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program said the "Can I Kiss You?" program has an excellent message for people in relationships, or who are thinking of being in a relationship.

"The presentation simply takes a closer look at how we as people communicate with one another and how often we think we are being clear with our body language and, therefore, do not feel the need to use words or ask permission," Sullivan said. "Domitrz does an amazing job at shedding light on these difficult-to-talk-about topics and uses humor to encourage the audience to open up and examine how they communicate."

Domitrz shared copies of his "May I Kiss You?" book, a book with stories from sexual-assault survivors called "Voices of Courage," and the DVD "Help! My Teen is Dating" with all who attended the training.

Tracy Roof, a budget analyst with the Fort McCoy Resource Management Office, said thought the training was very good,.

"Although there was definitely a serious side to it, it was also fun and funny and still made you stop and think about how people really do interact with each other."

The training was sponsored was co-sponsored by the ACS SHARP and Family Advocacy Program, and by the Fort McCoy Child, Youth and Student Services "Teen No More" Task Force.

For more on SHARP training and related information, call Jamie Cram at 608-388-8989 or email jamie.a.cram.civ@mail.mil. For more information on the "Can I Kiss You?" program and Domitrz' message, go online to www.datesafeproject.org.