‘Can I Kiss You?’ delivers a serious message with laughs

One of the first things you’ll hear about Mike Domitrz is how funny he is. Although his subject – dating and intimacy – is no laughing matter, his one-hour presentation titled “Can I Kiss You” never fails to draw raves from students, some of whom attend multiple shows.

Can I Kiss You?”, being presented by York’s Centre for Human Rights (CHR), will take place at the Centre of Excellence in the Rexall Centre on the Keele campus this Wednesday at 7pm. Organizers expect about 1,500 students to attend.

Right: Mike Domitrz does some role-playing with a student

The idea for the event came from the Centre for Human Rights and is being supported by funding from several campus groups, including Residence Life and York’s standing committee on Women & Trans People’s Safety. When members of the Colleges’ Orientation leaders group heard about it, many of them also asked to be involved, said Kristina Osborne, senior advisor, education & communications at CHR.

While he uses humour to get his message across, Domitrz is no stranger to the pain that can be caused by dating violence. His sister was raped in 1989 and he spent two years struggling to deal with what had happened to her and the effect it had on his life. His one-person show is the result of his attempts to address one of the most serious causes of sexual assault – a lack of consent – that arise from beliefs and values that are disrespectful.

The main message of the show, says Osborne, is to put the onus back onto an individual to get consent. Domitrz teaches audience members how to ask for what they want sexually or intimately – without having to play any of the games – and to respect each person’s boundaries. York students who attend the event will not only gain valuable skills to use in their own relationships, but will learn how to intervene appropriately in potentially-dangerous situations with their friends, including when alcohol is involved.

In keeping with the humorous theme of the event, CHR also will be directing participants to a “kissing booth”. Follow the lips on the floor (left) to find out what is being offered.

In 2003, Domitrz’s book, May I Kiss You? A Candid Look at Dating, Communication, Respect, & Sexual Assault Awareness, was published and endorsed by educational organizations and professionals throughout the United States. In 2005, Domitrz produced and edited the critically-acclaimed book Voices of Courage: Inspiration from Survivors of Sexual Assault.