College students from metro hear date rape message loud and clear

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- When it comes to sexual assault, familiarity doesn't always yield security.

National crime statistics show 57 percent of all assaults occur during dates -- between people who know each other.

The simplest way to get something is to respectfully ask for it. That's even true in dating -- certainly for college-aged students like the ones at Metropolitan Community College.

Motivational speaker Mike Domitrz brought that message to campus with his presentation called "Can I Kiss You?" His mission of challenging students to respect each other's moments of intimacy began during his own college days, when his sister was raped during a date.

Domitrz says he built his presentation with initiatives, which are meant to help students avoid unwanted assaults during times of vulnerability and substance abuse.

"It is our business," Domritz said. "We're just not being given the skills sets to do it easily and comfortably. That's our job to come in and give you the skills sets to help you intervene."

College-aged people are the primary audience for date rape. The National Sexual Violence Research Center says nine out of 10 college women who were raped knew their victims, and some of the assaults happened during dates.

"Everyone deserves to have a choice," Domritz said. "If someone's not being given a choice, we should all be keeping an eye out."

The message is registering with students like Rachel Ortiz and Sam Atkinson, who say they want to be part of the solution.

"It's been my experience that most people just let it happen," Atkinson said. "They just stand by -- using certain words like ‘hookup’ ‘drunk hookup’ or rape. It brings out different reactions from different people."

"I'm going to go talk to my brothers, and my two best friends," Ortiz said. "I'm going to make that door open for them. If they ever need to talk to me about that, they can."

Domitrz estimates over a half-million students have heard his presentation. He's traveled coast-to-coast speaking to groups, and he says it's worth it if he's saved just one person from sexual assault.

Here's a link to Domitrz's website, where he is offering a free download of his book.

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