Sailors Learn New Approach to Help Prevent Sexual Assault

Story Number: NNS140403-07Release Date: 4/3/2014 10:03:00 AM
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By Larry Coffey, Navy Medicine Education and Training Command Public Affairs

SAN ANTONIO (NNS) -- Sailors, Soldiers and Airman attended a unique Navy-sponsored program called "Can I Kiss You" April 1 at Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) Fort Sam Houston and JBSA Lackland.

"Before you kiss, do you ask? Will it ruin the moment? Will you feel like an idiot?"

These are some of the questions Mike Domitzr asked San Antonio military personnel attending his program as part of the area's Sexual Assault Awareness month events.

Domitrz, an expert on dating and intimacy, is a critically-acclaimed speaker, author and the executive director of "The Date Safe Project Inc."

He gave two presentations at JBSA Fort Sam Houston - one for Navy students and one for all military personnel - and one for JBSA Lackland Navy students.

"The program was awesome," said Hospitalman Amber Pinchback, who just graduated from the Behavioral Health Technician program at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) at JBSA Fort Sam Houston. "The presenter had a great sense of humor yet remained serious and professional with the discussion of such a serious topic. Despite the group being large, there was still a great discussion that occurred."

Pinchback, a Pittsburgh native, was one of many who said she learned a different approach to dating, intimacy and sexual assault. She said she plans to open up the line of communication with friends and family to discuss sexual assault. She also said she plans to implement some of what she learned into her work as a behavioral health technician such as asking and ways to effectively and successfully step in during a potential sexual assault.

For Hospitalman Apprentice Johanna Ruggs, a recent METC Navy Hospital Corps School graduate from Norwich, Conn., the program was fun and the information very useful.

"I never was bored," Ruggs said. "I think the respectful dating tips were very useful."

Ruggs said his approach to dating and sexual assault will be to "start asking instead of assuming the guy will be the one to make a move. I also know how to break up a situation that may look like sexual assault in a non-combative way."

Domitrz explained to the audiences how to "ask for what they want sexually or intimately without having to play any of the games."

He said, "Most people do not ask their partner before engaging in intimacy. Yet, the far majority of individuals love being asked. Asking takes away all the pressures and eliminates potential confusion. Plus, when you learn how easy it is, you discover how sexy and romantic asking can be."

Navy San Antonio- and Houston-area Sexual Assault Response coordinator Seletha Willis said Domitzr will be presenting his program to all 15 Navy bases in the southeast Navy region, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Those in the southeast region who attend Domitzr's program will be entertained and "actually open up their ears and learn something," said Hospitalman Recruit Katesiree Cannon, a METC Hospital Corps student from Lynbrook, N.Y.

"I will respect my partner more, and I now understand communication benefits both partners," Cannon said. "I learned that asking is the best consent."

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