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The Media Gets It Wrong…Again

November 30, 2015

Details continue to emerge about the criminal record of the man arrested for the shootings at a Colorado Planned Parenthood, Robert Lewis Dear. According to South Carolina police files, his ex-wife declined to press charges, but wanted a police record of his violence in 1997. According to multiple reports, he harassed a female neighbor to the extent that a restraining order was granted against him. [1]

We know that Dear had a history of violence and aggression, yet news agencies continue to minimize these actions, saying his ex-wife “accused” him of domestic assault, when the police records clearly state that there was physical evidence of bruising. [2] Other news reports call him a “peeping tom,” disguising and minimizing the harassment and terror that stalking victims often experience. [3] Headlines say the shooter was “Strange, Not Dangerous” [4] – a misguided assertion, given that his reported actions at a women’s health clinic just days ago have left three dead, nine wounded, and many more terrorized.


“Those who terrorize women at home often go on to terrorize their communities. We deserve to feel safe at home, on the street, at work, online, and while seeking health care,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). “The media can help by recognizing and naming violence against women, not minimizing it, and urging communities and law enforcement to hold perpetrators accountable.”

Violence against women is a global pandemic that takes many forms, affecting one in three women worldwide. In the midst of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we urge lawmakers, law enforcement, community members, families, and workplaces to take this crime seriously. Name it. Use criminal, civil, and community remedies to hold offenders accountable.

If you’re a member of the media and you’d like to do your part to help hold offenders accountable, but you’re not sure where to start, contact us – we can help.

[1] ThinkProgress, “Why It Matters That The Planned Parenthood Shooting Suspect Has Been Accused Of Domestic Violence,” 

[2] CNN, “Source: Suspect spoke of ‘baby parts’ after Planned Parenthood shooting,”

[3] ABC News, “Q&A About Suspect in Deadly Planned Parenthood Shooting,”

[4] NBC News, “Who Is Robert Dear? Planned Parenthood Shooting Suspect Seemed Strange, Not Dangerous, Neighbors Say,”