Tackling sexual violence on campus

Tackling sexual violence on campus

September 8, 2016


When it comes to talking about a difficult subject like sexual violence, Mike Domitrz takes an approach that is direct and engaging for students.

His talk, Can I Kiss You? is fast-paced and uses humour. On Monday, Sept. 5 Mr. Domitrz spoke with all first-year students at Queen’s in a pair of presentations at the Athletics and Recreation Centre as part of Orientation activities. Through his show, he shares how-to skills for asking for consent, being a proactive bystander and properly supporting survivors of sexual violence. This is all in an effort to create a more open dialogue about sex, help prevent assaults and promote a supportive campus for students who experience sexual violence.

Mr. Domitrz knows all too well the devastating effects of sexual violence. His sister was raped and her story formed the catalyst of his work. It’s what drove him to create his organization, Date Safe Project, and help make a difference. What he has found through his presentations is that young people are eager to help others.

“Students want to do the right thing, around the country,” he says. “They just wish they had the right skill set to do the right thing. So we have to do a better job as a society of giving them the skill set to make good choices and be able intervene and to make good choices themselves in their own moments.”

The presentation marks the second year that Queen’s has brought in a special guest during Orientation Week to speak about consent and to educate students about sexual violence. Last year, educator and activist Dr. Rachel Griffin shared her personal story with the incoming class. This annual event is part of the university’s ongoing efforts to address sexual violence in alignment with the Ontario government’s action plan, “It’s never Ok”.

Mr. Domitrz says that he was excited to speak with incoming students and was impressed that Queen’s is dedicated to discussing sexual violence and that a number of university leaders including Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney, and Rector Cam Yung, attended the event.

“It tells us that they really care about these topics…You have a school that’s saying we care deeply and you have a provost who was at the front of the room for the whole program,” he says. “It’s says we care and we want to learn and we want to grow and solve this problem.”

Learn more about the university’s sexual violence prevention and response initiatives and services.

Learn more about Date Safe Project.