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STOP TA Clinic 2/6/23: Approaching Teen Dating Violence Holistically with Tunisia Owens (FVLC)

Tunisia Owens spoke at this STOP TA Clinic on information regarding Teen Dating Violence within the frameworks of public health and holistic approaches. Through the work done at FVLC, it was understood that youths wanted to be engaged with their health and safety and participated in events that helped bring education and awareness to the topic of TDV and other forms of violence. With the rise of police brutality, FVLC reimagined what public safety looked like. For instance, normal teen behavior, which includes misbehavior, was criminalized by the presence of the police department in schools. By shifting the disciplinarian from the police department to the school’s officials, youths were criminalized less often. This marked a key shift in changing the perspective from responding to violence to preventing violence. Through her work, Ms. Owens has found that an important thing to keep in mind is that teens are often lacking in education and information about what violence looks like and where they can access support. Ms. Owens shared different ways that administrators can engage in changing frameworks without participating in lobbying. For example, you can speak to lawmakers and educate them on priorities you have for your community. Ms. Owens continued by describing how to try to shift the culture surrounding gender-based violence, especially within the context of other forms of violence. Finally, Administrators were given the opportunity to ask questions.

Tunisia M. Owens currently serves as the Policy and Advocacy Manager for the Family Violence Law Center where she works on the intersection of DV and homelessness and on violence prevention with youth. She is a passionate advocate on issues of Black Economic Empowerment, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, criminal justice reform, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth, and urban education reform. Tunisia is originally from Oakland, California and has served the public at non-profit organizations and government agencies in the Bay Area. She returned to Oakland after a career as a diplomat proudly representing the US in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South America. Tunisia, while committed to improving systems, also enjoys writing poetry, fiction, and short stories, as well as non-fiction articles. She graduated from Spelman College in Political Science and Economics, holds a joint master’s degree from Princeton University in Public Policy and Urban/Regional Planning, and obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.