“Can I Kiss You?” Program at Columbus High Schools
February 13, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ga. — Experts say dating violence is becoming more common among teenagers. Preventing a dangerous situation can be as simple as knowing “how” to ask for a kiss, that’s according to one man who has partnered with a local domestic violence shelter to spread the word, and stop the hurt.
Mike Domitrz made several stops through Columbus Monday, talking to teens and he posed one simple question “Can I kiss you?” He says his efforts to raise awareness about teen dating violence stem from a dreaded call he received about his own sister.
“My sister was sexually assaulted. I saw the devastation, I felt the pain and we wanted to make sure it didn’t happen to others,” said Domitrz.
Mike Domitrz took the floor at Shaw and Carver High schools talking to teens about the often touchy topic of dating and how to avoid its dangers.
The “Can I kiss you?” program is part of Hope Harbours’ effort to raise awareness during teen dating violence and prevention month.
“A lot of parents will ask why are you bringing “Can I kiss you?” into a high school? They forget that over half the high school is of legal age to be engaged in intimacy,” said Domitrz.
“Everything he brought up, I’ve seen it before, going to a party, not knowing how to ask a question,” said one Shaw HS student.
Playing out scenes where danger could strike, Domitrz encouraged students to set boundaries and respect the limits of others. He says teaching students “how” to ask, gives them the chance to make better choices.
“How to ask for what you want…How to know your partner’s boundaries. If I know how to ask I’m more likely to say no, which means abstinence goes way up,” said Domitrz.
“Those people that do go ahead and make that move, they’re excluding someone from making that choice,” said another student.
A choice Domitrz and many of the students agree everyone should have.
Free videos to help parents talk to teens about dating violence are available at datesafeproject.org and helpmyteenisdating.com. For domestic violence assistance and services contact Hope Harbour.