A very personal beginning
While away at college at the age of 19, Mike Domitrz received a phone call that would change his life forever and would lead to the founding of The Date Safe Project, Inc. The phone call was Mike’s Mom calling to inform him that his sister Cheri had been raped. As he struggled to deal with this tragedy, Mike was continually inspired by his sister’s strength and courage as a survivor.
Over the next year, Mike wanted to address this issue in a meaningful and constructive way that would help reduce sexual assault from happening to others. With input from experts and educators, Mike wrote and started presenting a one-person show using humor and anecdotes to open people’s minds to this issue of consent and respect – to prevent sexual violence from happening. The name of the presentation became “Can I Kiss You?” and has gone onto to be presented in schools, universities, communities, military installations, and at conferences throughout the world to over 40,000 people a year.
But back in 1991, most middle schools, high schools, and even universities were scared to openly discuss sexual assault with their students, especially having a guest speaker who was a college student. While the culture wasn’t ready with open arms, Mike didn’t give up. Over the next decade, he worked as a DJ and a state championship high school swimming and diving coach where he honed his skills in interactive education, connecting with people of all ages (especially teens), performing in front of small and large audiences, and handling high-pressure situations with tough audiences.
His perseverance prevailed in 2002 when he sold his DJ business and decided to focus solely on sharing the “Can I Kiss You?” program with the world. Within twelve months, he was speaking in over 50 educational institutions throughout North America.
In 2003, Mike founded The DATE SAFE Project, Inc. – an organization dedicated to leaving a positive impact on the many issues surrounding sexual assault and healthy intimacy. We are honored to be one of the leading organizations for creating educational materials on consent, respect, bystander intervention, sexual assault, supporting survivors, and helping families. Schools, parents, students, community organizations, crisis centers, and the military constantly tell us they turn to The DATE SAFE Project, Inc. for building a culture of consent and respect.
The Inspiration of Survivors
Today, the inspiration and strength of Mike’s sister Cheri has helped improve many people’s lives around the world. She is the original inspiration to the book Voices of Courage: Inspiration from Survivors of Sexual Assault being created. Plus, Cheri is one of the courageous survivors whom is a contributing author in the book. In bringing all the survivors together for Voices of Courage, 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.
“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 Nebraska