- His Story & Mission
- Award-Winning Author & Publisher
- Educator, Ally, and Expert
His Story and Mission:
Why does Mike Domitrz, Founder of The Date Safe Project, have such an intense passion and drive to:
- Dramatically improve society’s approach to healthy dating;
- Create a better understanding of how “consent” is obtained in intimacy;
- Reveal the keys to effective bystander intervention with alcohol and sexual activity; and
- Teach how to properly support survivors of sexual assault?
In 1989, Mike received a phone call informing him his sister had been raped. As he held the phone tightly to his ears, he simply could not believe what he was hearing. For two years, he struggled to deal with the rape and the effect it had on his life – both as the brother of a rape victim and as a male. He transferred colleges – so he could be close to home and his sister during the trial. Once back home with his family, Mike saw the pain, rage and sadness his parents, relatives, and family friends were also going through. The sexual assault of his sister had changed many people’s lives.
As months went by, Mike and his sister became even closer than before. While going to school during these challenging times, Mike noticed no one was addressing one of the most serious elements of sexual assault — a failure to obtain consent. The average person was NOT relating to the importance of needing to have permission before engaging in an intimate act with another person. Most individuals did not realize their current dating practices were based on standards of disrespect.
When it came to talking about the rape of his sister, no one knew what to say to him, his sister, or his family. Most people had never been given the skills needed to support a survivor of sexual assault or his/her family members. For the majority of people, talking about sexual assault was taboo.
Mike decided to make a difference. In 1990, Mike approached one of the few experts who spoke around the country on sexual assault. The expert was surprised and impressed with how Mike was a college student passionate about making a real difference on the issues surrounding sexual assault. The expert provided Mike with lots of information including myths, laws, stories, and interactive exercises. As Mike continued to research the issue of sexual assault and dating, he constantly heard students complaining that most sexual assault seminars, speakers, and experts were boring and depressing. At the same time, parents were saying, “My child would never do that“, but their kids were doing “that” and worse. Almost no one was connecting to the issue. Mike knew what needed to be done.
He started a “one person show” using a powerful tool, humor, to open people’s minds. Once people were laughing, they were much more likely to listen. With everyone’s attention glued to the program, Mike would show the devastation and trauma caused by sexual assault. The name of Mike’s program became “Can I Kiss You?” and has gone onto to be presented in schools, universities, communities, military installations, and at conferences throughout the world. He has created a truly interactive and engaging program that inspires change in the lives of each audience member.
While Mike’s program is one of the most sought after educational presentations today, the journey for Mike took time. Keep in mind he started this work during an era when schools were not openly discussing sexual assault. Mike had to know what he was talking about.
While originally designing and producing the “Can I Kiss You?” show as a college student in 1991, Mike compiled extensive research from a diverse group of resources to insure his message was accurate, honest, and delivering healthy lessons. At first, he started speaking at elementary schools, middle schools, and a few high schools. From 1992-1993, he spoke in over 40 school systems in his region. Then, he began speaking on college campuses. While educators were praising his approach, most schools were still too afraid to bring a program discussing intimacy and sexual assault to their students. While society wasn’t ready, Mike was not going to give up.
Over the next decade, Mike worked as DJ and high school coach where he honed his skills in:
- Interactive education;
- Educating teenagers;
- Working with college students; and
- Performing in front of big and small audiences
He was determined to work in any capacity he could in order to be an at-home Dad working on the mission. In 2002, a couple of educational experts saw Mike present his “Can I Kiss You?” program at a national conference and they were amazed he was not traveling the country full-time speaking. They began to tell everyone about his work and soon he was being sought throughout the country by organizations, schools, parents, campuses and the US Military.
Mike’s desire was to leave an impact much longer lasting than any one speaker could create.
In 2003, he founded The Date Safe Project, Inc. – our organization dedicated to leaving a positive impact on the many issues surrounding sexual assault and healthy intimacy. Rita was the first professional to join Mike as part of the DSP team and is still the person who takes care of you when you call today.
"I especially want to say how easy it was to work with your office. Rita was very helpful and always so quick to respond to any questions that arose."
Janet Zylstra, Director of Health Services, Cardinal Stritch University
Since 2003, The Date Safe Project, Inc. has grown to 5 team members – helping organizations and individuals throughout the world. We are honored to be one of the leading organizations for creating educational materials on consent, respect, sexual assault, and supporting survivors. Schools, parents, students, community organizations, crisis centers, and the military constantly tell us they turn to The Date Safe Project, Inc. for realistic solutions to tough conversations.
For Mike, his work is based on his greatest inspiration – his sister. Her strength and courage inspired him to speak out at the age of 21 years old. Today, her inspiration has helped change many people’s lives around the world. His sister is the entire reason the book Voices of Courage was created (she is one of the survivors/contributing authors in the book). Mike wanted everyone to see the amazing strength inside of each sexual assault survivor. Nothing could accomplish that goal as powerfully as his sister and the other 11 survivors did when they agreed to share their stories in the book Voices of Courage. From the start, ALL profits from the book and audio CDs have been donated to organizations addressing sexual assault.
Today, Mike is grateful to be the father of 4 boys and married to his wife of over 16 years – all who support and believe in his calling. While being dedicated to the mission of The Date Safe Project, Inc., Mike has always stressed the importance of setting aside time for family – for both himself and the entire DSP team. For all the recognitions and awards he has received, Mike has always said, "My greatest blessing in life is my family. THEY are amazing." For this reason, he limits how many events he speaks at each year. However, he never stops trying to create new mediums and outlets for sharing the important messages in his programs. His drive to share is what led Mike to writing and creating educational materials.
Award-Winning Author and Publisher
As Mike was speaking throughout the country, he was continually receiving requests from students, educators, and parents to create educational products which share the powerful lessons he reveals in his "Can I Kiss You?" program. People wanted a resource that was just like his presentations -- interactive, humorous, challenging, emotionally honest, and filled with skill building activities.
Since that time, Mike has become one of the most respected and prolific writers/producers of materials addressing healthy dating, consent, sexual decision-making, bystander intervention, sexual assault awareness, and supporting sexual assault survivors.
Help! My Teen is Dating. Real Solutions to Tough Conversations is Mike's latest resource for families and is hailed as a MUST HAVE for parents of all teenagers. With the DVD, you get over 80 minutes of interactive, funny, engaging, and powerful DVD video footage filled with precise tools to help your children face the confusing and frustrating times of dating and relationships. To learn more about this powerful educational DVD for Moms and Dads of teenagers who want to better prepare their sons and daughters for dating and the many decisions regarding intimacy they are bound to face, visit: www.helpmyteenisdating.com.
In 2003, Mike wrote his first book: May I Kiss You? . . . to rave reviews from 12 year olds to college students to parents to members of the military to book reviewers around the country. Mike had written a direct and to the point "How To" book for dating. Filled with exercises and challenges, the reader finds him/her self questioning the current dating system and discovering a much healthier and more romantic solution -- Asking First! To learn more, click here.
While writing his first book, he was already planning for his second. From the inspiration of his own sister and the many survivors he had met over the years, Mike wanted to give the world a book that would demonstrate the incredible strength and courage sexual assault survivors display on a daily basis. In 2005, he brought twelve survivors of sexual assault together from around the country to share their personal journey to healing and recovery in the critically-acclaimed book Voices of Courage. All profits from Voices of Courage are donated to organizations addressing the many issues surrounding sexual assault.
In addition, Mike has contributed chapters and sections to many books available in stores and online. You can learn much more about Mike's books and all his educational products (CDs, T-shirts, buttons, and posters) in the "Educational Tools & Resources" section of this website. Due to the impact his products and resources have had on society, educators, schools, the US military, and the media continually turns to Mike as one of the leading educators, allies, and experts for responding to current news stories.
Bring Mike to Your Community. Call now 800-329-9390 (or click here to email us) to receive a special 24 page informational magazine and to find the best remaining dates available.
Educator, Ally, Expert, and Media Source
With Mike, you get a passionate educator and a top authority who leads the way by challenging the norms and status quo. You get a dedicated ally who commits to always respecting every aspect of a very sensitive topic AND working hard for every client to help create a positive impact (an advocate on your side). You get an engaging and blunt professional who TV, radio, and print outlets say captivates their viewers, listeners, and readers.
Audience members quickly connect with Mike's personal mission. All genders know he is their ally. At the conclusion of each presentation, Mike thoroughly enjoys spending time with every interested audience member. When people from all walks of life approach Mike and share with him, he is honored. The greatest moments are often the words shared by survivors!
“I will never forget the impact you have made on my heart and those around me. I am a victim of rape . . . God is working through you in so many ways, and I just pray that hearts continue to be open and willing to listen to what you have to say.”
– A student from Hastings College
Each year, Mike works closely with school systems, university campuses, and community organizations (service groups and crisis centers) to help improve their ability to create long lasting change for teenagers and adults alike. Often when Mike is speaking in a middle school or high school, the local crisis center is the organization who brought him to the community. Why? Because his work and approach is highly respected by those in the know.
"Thank you also for writing for children and providing a positive framework of behavior for our youth. With best wishes"
When speaking on a college campus, the health center, counseling center, Women's Center, Gender Studies, Residence Life, Athletics, Dean of Students, and Student Activities frequently TEAM UP to bring him to their students. Why? Because each department on campus knows Mike will bring a positive perspective and give their students what they need emotionally, intellectually, and for their overall life education.
"I thought he was wonderful - full of life, energy, and enthusiasm...he made you stop and think and appreciate the "being" in human. I look forward to seeing him again next year." Elizabeth Marcuse, President, LIM College
When military installations bring Mike to present, frequently he is first contacted by the SARC (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator). Once leadership attends the "Can I Kiss You?" briefing, they put the word out for everyone to attend! Why? Mike's respect of the military's perspective is apparent right from the start. Military Leaders appreciate his understanding of their challenges and realize how Mike can help them overcome obstacles with the men and women they lead.
As an educator, professionals continually seek out his special "Going All the Way with . . ." training workshops. Teachers, professors, activists, community educators, and advocates love how open and sharing Mike is in each workshop. He gives you the tools to do what he does back in your community. Teachers have driven 5 hours to attend Mike's one hour training programs to help them better connect with their students and audiences.
NBC, ABC, and CBS have all featured Mike's work. Over the years, he has appeared on over 40 shows (radio/TV). His live interviews leave reporters and broadcasters talking about the lessons he shared well after he leaves their studio and/or offices. Radio personalities love how Mike can engage listeners and keep an interview flying throughout. Journalists and writers turn to Mike for captivating quotes and comments for their next story.
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