February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention, Awareness Month Published Feb. 3, 2022 By Lauren Russell 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, emphasizing the importance of educating youth on healthy relationships. The 2022 theme is “Talk About It,” which highlights the vital role communication from close influencers, such as parents and teachers, can play in preventing teen dating violence. “So much of our youth’s interaction happens through technology and social media, so it can be really easy for parents and caregivers to miss potential warning signs,” said Dr. Abby Cutter, Hanscom’s violence prevention integrator. “Our goal this month is to support and educate youth on what healthy relationships look like.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dating violence affects millions of teens each year, and can include physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, as well as stalking that can happen in person or electronically. Cutter said because teens are often navigating relationships for the first time, it’s critical for them to understand what healthy relationships look like at an early age. This can help them avoid unhealthy patterns in current, or future, relationships. “Healthy relationships require honest communication, trust, safety and respect regardless of sexual orientation or identity,” she said. Cutter and other representatives from Hanscom Helping Organizations are participating in the Hanscom Youth Center’s teen game night here Feb. 11 to share additional resources on developing healthy relationships. “I’m hopeful this will be really beneficial in bringing the information to our youth, and allowing them to talk about these issues with their peers,” she said. Parents, caregivers and teachers can learn more about the prevention month by taking the Dating Matters training at https://vetoviolence.cdc.gov/apps/datingmatters/.