Hanscom to host teen dating violence awareness night

  • Published
  • By Capt. Amelia Leonard
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

The Hanscom Integrated Prevention and Resilience team will host a Teens Healthy Relationship Night at the Youth Center Feb. 10 from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

The goal of the event is to provide teens with the skills they need so they feel empowered to make healthy choices, according to Kristin Wright, Hanscom violence prevention integrator and suicide prevention program manager.

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

“Across America, young people are impacted by abusive relationships, suffering in silence as they are threatened with or subjected to physical violence, sexual violence, psychological aggression, or stalking from a current or former intimate partner,” according to a statement from The White House. 

Approximately 12 percent of American high schoolers experience physical or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner, according to the White House Statement. 

“Dating violence can also occur on social media, online, and through other electronic communication in the form of cyberstalking, non-consensual distribution of intimate images, and other technology-facilitated harms,” the statement added.

More than 40 teenagers are expected to attend the Hanscom event which will focus on the importance of healthy relationships.

There is still time to register in advance, but no one will be turned away for showing up unregistered. The event is free for Hanscom Youth Center members and $2 for non-members.

"Unhealthy relationships can start early, so education is an essential component in preventing teen dating violence," said Wright.

The participants will be divided into small groups and given the opportunity to participate in three age-appropriate stations or activities that include healthy relationship jeopardy, speed friending, and more.

The teens will participate in skill-building activities to teach them about healthy versus unhealthy relationships, signs of violence in a relationship, reporting options and resources, said Wright.

Event activities will be led by Hanscom’s VPI, resilience program manager, chaplain, Military and Family Life Counseling office personnel, and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team.

Parents, caregivers and teachers can learn more about combating teen dating violence through the Center for Disease Control Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships program online. It is an evidence-based, comprehensive teen dating violence prevention model developed by CDC to stop that type of violence before it starts.

For further information or to register for the event, contact the Hanscom Youth Center at 781-225-6043.