by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David R. Krigbaum
SASEBO, Japan (Apr. 15, 2016) For most Sailors sexual assault prevention training is an annual PowerPoint marathon session but recently, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet has tried a different approach.
Sailors in the packed Community Education Center watched three people on stage as the presentation began, a civilian in a black suit and T-shirt and a pair of participants picked from the crowd. The two Sailors on stage adopted the roles of two people on a date and after an exchange of dialogue and a motioned “hand on the knee,” the presenter stopped the play and asked the audience what they thought should happen next. Should the Sailor ask what that hand meant or just go ahead and kiss her?
Presenter Mike Domitrz’s question received some loud responses from the audience for both possibilities and with that, he began a dialogue.
His presentation, “May I Kiss You?,” worked as a conversation between himself and the audience with the training topics, such as sexual assault, bystander intervention and supporting survivors being discussed in an open manner. According to Dormitz, the training emphasized Navy Core Values, focused on a theme of respect for self and others and provided a comprehensive discussion on sexual relations and consent.
“I’m glad it wasn’t death by PowerPoint, it was very interactive. It almost made me feel like I was not in training so I really enjoyed it,” aid Yeoman 2nd Class Jelissa Pollard, assigned to Commander U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo. “It was almost like sitting down and having a conversation with a friend.”
During the presentation Domitrz and his audience also discussed gender relations, the positives of healthy sexual relations and dating, as opposed to only discussing rape and sexual assault during the training.
“We’re trying to bring transformation and cultural change to the Navy on these topics,” said Domitrz. “It’s training to help our culture really change the way we view these topics, change the way we handle the situations because the fact is, it’s a U.S. society culture issue, this isn’t just a military issue and we’re giving people the skill sets to address this.”
The presentation was part of a Resilient Workforce Summit and given three times, once to all hands, once to chiefs and officers, and also to command leadership. Each presentation was tailored to the audience and how they interact with their personnel when discussing sexual assault prevention.
“[At] Different levels of leadership, it’s a different culture they deal with. A person who’s working hand in hand with Sailors every day, might see things and hear things that someone who’s a few steps away from that isn’t going to see and so you’re going to have a different conversation,” said Domitrz.
The summit took place on Apr. 14-15, 2016 onboard CFAS that covered training for Sailors on a range of other topics such as physical readiness, suicide prevention and transitioning from military service.
Dormitz is the creator of “Date Safe Project” and has given his presentation on military installations around the world.