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Opinion We need to talk about domestic violence, terrorism and mass shootings

What do mass shooters and terrorists often have in common? Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah explains. (Video: Gillian Brockell, Kate Woodsome, Karen Attiah/The Washington Post)

What if we treated violence against women as a national security issue?

Think about the men in recent years who have committed public mass violence or acts of terrorism. More than half of mass shootings in the United States are related to domestic or family violence. And even when a relative is not shot or killed, domestic violence often looms in the background.

Before Robert Dear attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, two of his three ex-wives accused him of physical abuse. Before James T. Hodgkinson shot up a congressional baseball practice, he was charged with domestic battery. Before Tamerlan Tsarnaev bombed the Boston Marathon, he faced domestic violence allegations, as well. The mother of Nazi sympathizer James A. Fields called 911, afraid of her violent son, years before he allegedly killed a woman by driving his car into a Charlottesville rally.

Margaret Atwood once said, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscores this sad reality for women in the United States: A significant portion of those who are murdered are victims of  their husbands, boyfriends or ex-partners. This is not to say all men who abuse their families will go on a mass rampage, nor is it true that all perpetrators of shootings or terror have been charged with abusing their families. Still, why don’t we treat women’s safety as more of a public-safety matter?

To learn more, watch the latest Tl;DR video above. But the bottom line is: Black, white, Christian, Muslim, rich, poor — mass violence claims all lives. Domestic violence does, too. And often, before a man unleashes his rage and violence in public, it’s a woman in the attacker’s life who suffers first.