Lecturer speaks about creating a healthier dating culture

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Ryan Turner
Mike Domitrz lectured about the importance of consent in dating. He also gave tips on how students can help people in danger of being sexually assaulted. (Ryan Turner)

Critically acclaimed author Mike Domitrz lectured to students and faculty on the BYU campus on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, about consent and creating a healthier dating culture. His lecture was titled, “Can I Kiss You?”

Domitrz began by inviting two volunteers onstage. He used them to discuss assumptions people tend to make about each other when it comes to dating. He said people all over the world jump to the conclusion that touches and looks mean more than they really do.

Domitrz said people’s egos tend to kick in when they are interested in someone else, and those egos tend to make people arrogant. Arrogance, he said, can easily lead to taking advantage of others. Domitrz then gave a scenario in which one individual becomes intoxicated while someone else encourages them and stays sober. Domitrz said this type of scene is a good indicator of sexual assault happening in the near future.

Not everyone would step in and stop this, Domitrz said, mostly likely because of one of two excuses. People fear confrontation, or they often want to stay out of other people’s business, Domitrz said, but neither excuse is valid.

“We instinctively care about people and want to help them,” he said. Only when we think too long about what we are going to do, he said, do we talk ourselves out of doing what’s right. If we saw someone standing in the road when a car was coming, Domitrz argued, we would push them out of the way. If we see someone else in a situation where they could potentially be sexually assaulted, our reaction needs to be the same.

Domitrz said the second excuse, fear of confrontation, is invalid as well.

“Human beings do not fear confrontation if the confrontation is worth it,” Domitrz said.

Domitrz said all people are worth confrontation, simply because they are human beings who have basic rights of dignity and respect.

He then offered four ways to stop a predator who intends to sexually assault someone. First, identify the sexual assailant. Second, understand it is your business. Third, team up and check in. And fourth, stay calm and focused.

Domitrz then told the audience about when he found out his older sister, a successful college athlete, had been raped. He said he wanted to kill her attacker but realized anything he did to him would only make the situation worse. Instead, after months of trying to calm down, he decided to share with others how to create a healthier dating culture to help prevent sexual assault.

Domitrz ended the lecture by discussing how to help survivors of sexual assault.

“Every survivor is strong, courageous and incredible,” he said.

It can be extremely difficult to know how to help a victim, but being there for him or her is the most important thing, Domitrz said.

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