The Catholic University of America

Feb. 27, 2015

Students Learn About Healthy Relationships

  Students at "Can I Kiss You?"
  Hundreds of students attended "Can I Kiss You?"

Catholic University students lined up outside the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center Great Room more than a half hour early to get seats for speaker Mike Domitrz’s Feb. 23 talk titled “Can I Kiss You?” One student wore her “Can I Kiss You?” T-shirt, coming for the second time to hear Domitrz speak about respectful dating practices.

It wasn’t long before Domitrz asked for audience volunteers. Two students got on stage and were told to pretend they were on a first date. They sat on a couch and faced each other, looking nervous.

Domitrz then had the audience vote on which student would have to ask the other for a kiss. Everyone in the audience laughed as one of them jokingly asked for a “smooch.” Domitrz said he was trying to prove that getting consent from a partner is important.

Later in the evening, he recreated a typical college party, making jokes about how students dance and interact. One audience member called out, “That’s exactly how I dance.” But Domitrz quickly turned his jokes into messages about being an active bystander — when someone at a party has had too much to drink, everyone there is responsible for assuring that person is safe, he said.

“Balancing sensitivity and a sense of humor, Mike is able to touch on important topics, engage with students, and drive home his takeaway points,” said John Brazil, a junior politics major from Scranton, Pa., and a member of PEERS, a University organization devoted to educating students about sexual assault, drugs, and alcohol.

“PEERS, along with the Office of the Dean of Students, brought “Can I Kiss You?” to campus with the goal of prompting a dialogue on dating and healthy relationships,” said Stephanie Davey, assistant dean of students. The event was scheduled in February to coincide with Dating Violence Awareness Month, she added.

Student asks question at "Can I Kiss You?"  
Student asks Domitrz a question  


Domitrz has performed “Can I Kiss You?” nationwide at universities, high schools, conferences, and military bases. “Mike is well-known in the college circuit,” said Brazil.

“College is not just four years spent on a campus to get a degree and then a job,” said Bridget Drumm, a senior psychology major from Philadelphia and a member of PEERS. “It’s more about becoming a better person. It’s a time to become more educated about the important issues in the world. In the 21st century and at The Catholic University of America, sexual violence still exists, but we are called to put a stop to it.”



At the end of the talk, students lined up again, but this time it was to sign the University’s bystander intervention pledge, vowing to stand up for their classmates.



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