Monthly Archives: November 2015

Why it Matters that the Planned Parenthood Shooter Has Been Accused of Domestic Violence

“Men who are eventually arrested for violent acts often began with attacks against their girlfriends and wives. In many cases, the charges of domestic violence were not taken seriously or were dismissed,” activists Pamela Shifman and Salamishah Tillet wrote in the New York Times earlier this year. “With so much at stake, responding to violence against women should be a top priority for everyone.”

In the aftermath of a shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic that left three people dead, more details are emerging about the suspected gunman, 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear. According to police reports, Dear has a long history of getting in trouble with law enforcement — including several instances of being accused of preying on women.

According to BuzzFeed News, Dear was interviewed by South Carolina police in 1997 after the cops responded to a domestic violence call. Dear’s wife said that he locked her out of the house and, once she gained entry, he hit her and pushed her out of window. His wife didn’t want to press charges, saying she wanted only a police record of the incident. The cops noted that she had “apparent bruises” on her body from where she said Dear pushed her in the chest.

Five years later, Dear was investigated for making “unwanted advances” toward a woman who lived in his neighborhood. Dear’s neighbor Lynn Roberts and her husband reported he was hiding in the bushes by their house. Roberts said that he was “leering” at her on a “regular basis”; court records show that she eventually filed a restraining order against him in July 2002.

Dear has also faced a handful of other investigations for allegedly abusing an animal and threatening a neighbor. The charges against him have all been dropped or dismissed.

The revelations about Dear’s previous run-ins with the law, and specifically the instances in which he allegedly harmed women, were unsurprising to some observers.

Indeed, there’s evidence that conclusively links domestic violence incidents with future violent crimes. Men who hurt their female family members often go on to hurt other people later in life. Domestic violence advocates say that’s one important reason why crimes against women — which are often difficult to push through the criminal justice system, particularly considering the fact that violence against female partners has long been considered the norm — should be taken more seriously within society as a whole.

“Men who are eventually arrested for violent acts often began with attacks against their girlfriends and wives. In many cases, the charges of domestic violence were not taken seriously or were dismissed,” activists Pamela Shifman and Salamishah Tillet wrote in the New York Times earlier this year. “With so much at stake, responding to violence against women should be a top priority for everyone.”


Analysis of Mass Shootings – Connection to Domestic Violence

Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings

Everytown For Gun Safety conducted a comprehensive analysis of every mass shooting between January 2009 and July 2015 that was identifiable through FBI data and media reports. This report describes the 133 mass shootings – almost two per month that occurred in 39 states in the nearly seven-year period. Each description includes the location of the shooting, number of people killed and/or injured, and information on the shooter, gun(s), ammunition, and gun purchase, where available.

There was a noteworthy connection between mass shooting incidents and domestic or family violence. In at least 76 of the cases (57%), the shooter killed a current or former spouse or intimate partner or other family member, and in at least 21 incidents the shooter had a prior domestic violence charge.

See the complete report

How Childhood Domestic Violence Impacts Us

By Brian F. Martin and Ruth M. Glenn, MPA, Executive Director, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

We recently conducted focus groups with women who were residing in domestic violence shelters. There were many insights, but one new conclusion was drawn. If we want to end domestic violence, we must focus on Childhood Domestic Violence, or CDV.

“This is an epiphany for me”

A woman who joined one of our focus groups said, “This is an epiphany for me.” She was living in a domestic violence shelter along with her two children. She was concerned for them, as they grew up living with domestic violence.

She didn’t know how to talk to them about it. She didn’t know what to call it. Further, she didn’t until that moment connect the fact that she, too, grew up living with domestic violence. She experienced Childhood Domestic Violence.

“They don’t often connect the dots…”

This young woman is not alone. Dr. Renee McDonald, a leading researcher at Southern Methodist University said, “They often cannot connect the dots between what they experienced in their childhood homes and the challenges they face today.” Dr. McDonald was specifically talking about Childhood Domestic Violence.

What is Childhood Domestic Violence?

Most people have heard of physical child abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect; these are all adversities that a person might face in their childhood home. However, there is one adversity that most people probably haven’t heard of, as it has very limited awareness… that adversity is Childhood Domestic Violence, or CDV.

CDV occurs when a person grows up living in a home with domestic violence. From the standpoint of a person in childhood, domestic violence is violence between their parents or violence towards a parent, from a significant other or stepparent.

It impacts the developing brain and physiology of the body

CDV impacts a person in a number of ways. One in particular is that it encodes a series of negative beliefs, or LIES, in the developing brain. And since one of the brain’s primary jobs is to find evidence of what it believes is true, more often than not, the negative beliefs formed for a person who experiences CDV become the foundation of that person’s self-concept throughout life.

As an example, if a person who grew up with CDV early in life believed that they were guilty, ashamed, that there was something wrong with them, or if they thought they were inherently worthless or fearful, then their brain finds evidence as to why this is true throughout life. This simply becomes who they are. These beliefs then impact their behaviors, health, emotions, and relationships.

The impact stays with them unless…

So how does the self-concept of a person who experiences CDV change for the better? The impact will often stay with the person unless someone steps in to help them unlearn what was learned. In the life of a child, a caring adult must step in to help the child become aware, understand, and share. The same holds true for an adult. But how can this happen when there is no awareness?

The single best predictor as to whether or not a person will be involved in domestic violence later in life is whether or not they grew up living with it in their childhood home. So, if we don’t address Childhood Domestic Violence, how can we solve the problem of domestic violence? It’s like trying to solve lung cancer without addressing the problem of smoking.

The adults who experienced Childhood Domestic Violence are key

We must provide the adults who experienced Childhood Domestic Violence — all 40 million of them in the U.S. alone — with the information they need, so they can begin to connect the dots and take the first steps towards becoming aware, understanding and sharing. Only then can they share these messages with their own children and other loved ones.

We must provide the young people with the words they need

In the same way that we’ve educated children about bullying in school, we must also educate them about the adversities they are facing in their childhood home.

We must educate them about the bullying they face when they get home from school. We must help them unlearn the lies they have learned. We must educate them about Childhood Domestic Violence.

A more holistic approach to the issue of domestic violence is needed

A more holistic approach to the issue of domestic violence is needed to help the millions of children and adults that are impacted. We need to bring the tools and information to those who need them. Most critically, we need to address the single best predictor of it — Childhood Domestic Violence.

Do you want to learn more about CDV, domestic violence, and the tools and resources available? Visit the Childhood Domestic Violence Association at and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at

Don’t Cut VOCA

From the National Network to End Domestic Violence
VOCA Funding for Victims of Crime Under Threat

We must make our voices clear and loud right now to sustain VOCA funding

While many aspects of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed by President Obama this week, are good for vulnerable people, steady funding for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) is at risk. Looking for ways to provide additional funding for defense and human needs, the Budget deal took $1.5 billion out of the non-taxpayer-generated VOCA funds, which are dedicated to direct victim services, to pay for the overall increase in funding. If this deal is sustained, the amount of VOCA funds allocated each year could be much lower than last year’s appropriations and the similar current amount budgeted in both the U.S. House ($2.7 billion) and Senate ($2.6 billion). Appropriations bills for FY 2016 will determine if VOCA is funded at the 2015 and 2016 recommended levels.

Call your Members of Congress right now (especially if they are on the Appropriations committees or party leaders, see below) with this message:

“Do not reduce the funds allocated for VOCA. We count on VOCA to fund direct services such as (name critical services such as shelter, rape crisis services, legal assistance, direct counseling, etc.). This money comes from criminal fines, not taxpayer money and barely meets the needs of programs and services to victims. In 2015, VOCA was increased in order to truly help the many victims who have been going without critical support services. There is at least $12 billion balance in this fund and VOCA dedicated funding is a small part of that. If VOCA is cut from the 2015 level, it will be devastating. It will harm our programs by (include details such as – reduced numbers of victims who could be served, reduced professional and skilled staff, reduced or eliminated victim service and prevention programs). In this year’s Appropriations process and beyond, Congress must maintain its commitment to helping the most vulnerable victims escape and heal from violence and abuse and rebuild their lives. Please don’t turn back the clock on victims.

Please tell Appropriators that victims in [Your state] are counting on sustained VOCA funds. With over $12 billion in the VOCA fund, this is not the time to cut funding for victim services.”

To reach your Representative and Senator:

Find your Senators and Representative here; enter your full nine-digit zip code for the best results. You will be taken to their contact info, including phone number. Be sure to say you are a constituent! You can also call the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. Choose Representative and then enter your zip code to be transferred. When you are done leaving a message for your Representative, call back and follow the same process to leave messages for your Senators. Special attention should be given to the Senate and House Appropriations committee members, so if your Members are either with us or hopeless, contact the “money” folks who will decide how to divvy up the funds. and

Tweet ’til you drop:

@your Senators’ and Representative’s Twitter handle (you can find this in the search box at the top right hand part of your screen)

Please protect the Victims of Crime Act. Rape Crisis Centers need to help victims on waiting lists. #DontCutVOCA

Domestic violence victims need VOCA to stay safe. Too many are turned away. #DontCutVOCA

#DontCutVOCA when the FY 15 increase is just starting to help hurting victims.

#DontCutVOCA just when survivors of sexual assault are finding courage to seek services.

Key contacts:







For more information, fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates visit