Pentagon Has Spent $697,627 on ‘Can I Kiss You’ Training
‘Starting a conversation about relationships and intimacy’
The Pentagon has spent roughly $700,000 on training designed to tell soldiers when it is appropriate to kiss a girl.
The “Can I Kiss You?” training was most recently deployed last week at the U.S. Army base in Fort Eustis, Va. Soldiers learned about “starting a conversation about relationships and intimacy.”
“The training event aimed to provide soldiers with skills to build respectful relationships and tools to apply effective communication with partners in support of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” the Department of Defense said in a press release.
“Traditionally, this annual training is delivered through lectures and projected slides,” the department said. “This year Quenita Samuel, 93rd Signal Brigade SHARP victim advocate, said she wanted to break tradition for a more engaging conversation with Soldiers.”
“We want to make Soldiers feel more comfortable with starting a conversation about relationships and intimacy,” Samuel said. “I think they will be more receptive in a more engaging and interactive environment as opposed to a policy-driven lecture.”
“Can I Kiss You?” is a 60 to 90 minute training session taught by Mike Domitrz, an author and public speaker who travels the world teaching people about consent. A hallmark of the training is telling troops they must ask a woman before a kiss ending a date, no matter what.
At Fort Eustis, soldiers learned from Domitrz the “importance of healthy dating environments and a clearer understanding of consent.”
“Domitrz performed his one-man show titled, ‘Can I Kiss You?,’ a presentation that uses humor and personal anecdotes to create an open dialogue about respect, consent, and sexual assault prevention,” the department said.
“Laugh till you cry in this revealing look at dating and intimacy,” a poster advertising the show reads.
Domitrz’s group—the Date Safe Project—has received numerous contracts for training from the Pentagon over the years, including contracts as high as $90,800 for alcohol education and training in 2016.
Since 2009, Domitrz and the Date Safe Project have received $697,627 from the Pentagon for training. The group has also received $15,000 from the Maritime Administration, bring the total taxpayer funded bill to $712,627.
The Pentagon said preventing sexual assault is a high priority. On Tuesday, the department released its annual report on sexual assault, showing a 9.7 percent increase in reports of sexual assault involving service members as either victims or subjects of criminal investigations from the previous year.
However, 10 percent of reports made by service members who were the victims were “for incidents that occurred to them before entering military service.”
There were over 5,000 incidents reported within military service—an increase of 10 percent from 2016. Of the reported victims, 1,084 were men.