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Friday, November 27, 2020

Campus

Avoiding, handling assault


The moments after a sexual assault can be traumatizing and overwhelming. A new program at UH plans to educate students about how to handle a potential traumatic situation.

Coogs Get Consent is sponsored by Equal Opportunity Services, the Women’s Resource Center and Fort Bend County Women’s Center. Michael Domitrz, founder of the Date Safe Project, spoke about the meaning of consent, and its basis in relationships.

Students learned how to be a support system to friends and family who could be victims of a sexual assault by letting them know they are always in their corner. | Aisha Bouderdaben/The Daily Cougar

Students learned how to be a support system to friends and family who could be victims of a sexual assault by letting them know they are always in their corner. | Aisha Bouderdaben/The Daily Cougar

“I realized every survivor is strong and courageous. If someone you know has been sexually assaulted, they turn around and live their life. That takes strength, courage, determination and will,’’ Domitrz said.

Domitrz, whose sister is a rape survivor, travels to college campuses to promote safe dating. Thursday he ventured to and encouraged a crowd at the E. Cullen Performance Hall, using his sister’s story as inspiration to help people realize that anyone can be victims of sexual assault.

“Survivors are brave, strong individuals,” Domitriz said.

Students were surprised when what initially appeared to be a two-hour lecture turned into an interactive setting, calling on students and having some come up to perform scenarios.

“I thought the talk was really good. He wasn’t talking about consent being overly technical. He was inclusive of LGBT people too”, said Kiernan Cobb, a biology sophomore.

“I liked doing the skit. It wasn’t as awkward or embarrassing as I thought. I learned that it is really easy to intervene when someone is putting another person in a dangerous situation without their consent.”

Domitrz stressed the importance of stepping in to help friends and introduced the concept of “Opening Three Doors.” Domitrz asked everyone in the audience to promise to call three people they care about before 11 p.m. and say, “I want you to know I am always here for you and that you can always come to me if someone touches you or harms you sexually without your consent.”

“I’ve watched students go back after this program, and they’ve opened the door for three family members or friends,” Domitrz said. “It has really brought people closer together.”

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