YWCA presents safe dating tips for Big Island students

Recent article posted on Hawii247.org.

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Almost 2,500 intermediate, high school and college students across the Big Island were encouraged to take the Pledge for Action for healthy relationships and safe dating in a program put on by the YWCA Hawai’i Island last Wednesday and Thursday. Mike Domitrz, executive director of the Date Safe Project (DateSafeProject.org) spoke to students in Kona, Pahoa, Keaau and Hilo about “Asking First,” “Being a Friend,” and “Opening a Door for Survivors”, components for healthy relationships and helping friends who are victims of sexual assault. Mr. Domitrz provided his message in a lively, comedic and interactive presentation drawing students from the audience to convey his message. He closed his presentation by asking students to take the “Pledge 4 Action” which consists of four parts: 1. Respect Yourself; 2. Respect Your Partner; 3. Ask Before You Act; and 4. Respect the Answer.

Student responses to the presentation were enthusiastic and an 18 year old senior who attended the presentation stated, “It really made me think and Yes! I deserve to be asked and I can say no.”

The “Can I Kiss You?” presentation was put together by the YWCA of Hawai’i Island with support from The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, the Hawai’i Department of Health, the University of Hawai’i at Hilo’s New Student Department and Women’s Center and the Friends of the West Hawai’i Children’s Justice Center. This event is the first of several planned events to build awareness of sexual assault – a growing issue in our community directly linked to current economic stresses – leading into April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The YWCA of Hawai’i Island, along with other partner agencies, will be sponsoring Men Can Stop Rape Training on April 12 and 13 at the YWCA, 145 Ululani Street; a showing of Open Window, a film about the effects of sexual assault on April 1 at the University of Hawai’i, Hilo campus and on April 21 at the University of Hawai’i West Hawai’i Campus.

YWCA Hawai’i Island is a not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is the elimination of racism and empowerment of women. Established in 1919, the organization offers services and programs which include: a nationally accredited preschool; an aquatics center; the only island-wide 24×7 rape crisis center; the only Teen Court for the Big Island; and the only home visitation new mother and baby support program for all of East Hawai’i.

The YWCA Hawai’i Island is part of the YWCA USA, the oldest and largest national women’s organization. Nationally, the YWCA serves 2.5 million women and girls each year. Globally, the YWCA USA is a member of World YWCA, which has affiliates in 122 countries that serve 25 million women and girls worldwide.

For more information about the YWCA, visit www.ywcahawaiiisland.org Contact: Jeanine Atebara, CEO at 808 935-6067, ext 102 or jatebara@ywcahawaiiisland.org. YWCA Hawai’i Island, 145 Ululani St., Hilo, HI 96720.

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