Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Can I Kiss You?"

Ashley Tsang

On Monday, September 15th, 2008, I attended the lecture “Can I Kiss You?” in Loyola Maryland’s McGuire Hall. It was hosted by a man named Mike Domitrz who wrote a book that promotes ways to have a healthy relationship with a significant other and raises awareness about sexual assault and consent. I personally found the lecture to be very fascinating and captivating to listen to. The reason for this is because most of what Mike talked about, I and I’m sure other Loyola students as well, can very much relate to in everyday life. Us being teenagers and all, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can all benefit from hearing the appropriate courses of action to take while dating or simply being in the presence of a significant other person. The fundamental question of the lecture became why is it important to give people a choice when it comes to intimacy? Mike answered this question by using audience participation and by giving us a series of hypothetical situations that we could personally relate to.
In the beginning of the lecture, Mike started off by asking the audience what they thought about asking their partner if they can kiss them. The audiences’ responses consisted of, “it’s awkward, it’s not cool, it ruins the moment.” He then revealed to us that the main reason why we don’t ask our partners if we can kiss them more often, is not because we fear rejection, but that we try to avoid it at all costs. He made the point that by giving your partner a choice of what to do with their body, you are simply being respectful to them and yourself. He then added that the other person’s choice should always be respected not matter what it may be because everyone deserves a choice.
Afterwards, Mike started to discuss the issue of rape amongst society today. He told us a moving story about how is older sister had gotten raped and managed to survive it, and how it affected him as her younger sibling. He then related it back to us college students by giving us an instance where a teenage boy is at a party and intentionally tries to get a girl drunk enough so he can take advantage of her. Although the boy in this story knows that what he is doing is wrong and immoral on all levels, he continues to do it anyway because he’s had something to drink, but the girl he wants to hookup with has had even more to drink. As adolescents, we can’t really deny that the fact that we haven’t been witnesses to instances like this before. You can basically picture this scenario happening at any party where there is alcohol being served. Mike brought up the point that in many cases, people will see things like this occurring at parties, but will do absolutely nothing to prevent it from happening. He said that the reason why we don’t take any course of action to stop it is because we simply don’t want to believe that it just might happen. He then raised a good point that teenagers won’t do anything to prevent a rape from happening, but if a drunk person attempted to grab his/her keys to drive home, we would everything in our power to stop him/her from killing him/herself and other people on the road. By the end of explaining a few hypothetical situations, Mike strongly emphasized that our generation needs to take more courses action and stand up for what we feel is the right thing to do when we find ourselves in certain situations.
Overall, I thought that Mike’s lecture was very enlightening and informative for both myself and for the other students at Loyola College as well. I think that this stage of my life, it is important to be lectured about appropriate courses of action to take because it does and will play a role in my life, whether it’s now or even ten years from now. Mike later explained to us that many faith-based and Jesuit institutions hire him to lecture students such as ourselves because it does indeed relate to the Jesuit values. An example of this is the issue of sex and intimacy that he discussed because in the Christian religion and in many other religions as well, sex and intimacy are things that people are encouraged to honor and not take for granted. Respect for ourselves and our peers is another key concept that he strongly emphasized, which is a vital Jesuit value as well. The idea of giving people choices before taking action is sign of respect for ourselves and other people and we can all benefit from knowing this whiling preparing for the future. There were many key issues raised in the lecture “Can I Kiss You” that unquestionably exemplified the Jesuit values that we practice here at Loyola College in Maryland.

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