Start by believing sexual assault victims

September 27, 2018

SLO District Attorney Dan Dow

OPINION by DAN DOW

There are countless reasons why people who are sexually assaulted or abused do not report what happened. Lack of a “timely filed” report does not mean the abuse did not happen and those who do bravely come forward must be supported. This is not a partisan political issue. It is a culture issue.

As a prosecutor of sexual assault and child sexual abuse, I know far too well that many survivors of these lurid crimes live with deep pain for decades, or for a lifetime, without telling anyone of the abuse.  Sadly, there are many widely believed myths in society – our jury pools – that promote skepticism and cynicism towards those brave survivors who eventually report sexual abuse. Here is the bottom line:  lack of a “timely filed” report does not mean the abuse did not happen and those who do bravely come forward must be supported.  This is not a partisan political issue. It is a culture issue.

There are countless reasons why people who are sexually assaulted or abused do not report what happened.  Some of them are:

It’s painful. It’s deeply personal. It’s embarrassing. It’s uncomfortable. I won’t be believed. I am ashamed. I feel guilty. I feel betrayed. I feel sick to my stomach. I am afraid.  I will be laughed at. I will be punished. No one will understand me.  I shouldn’t have been there.  I shouldn’t have allowed it to happen. I wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t know how to say no.  I froze. I was scared. I must have done something to cause this to happen. I don’t want to be talked about. I look stupid. I will be called a slut. I can’t report it to the police because they are all men. I will be disgraced.

Many survivors decide to live with deep, emotional, scarring pain because it seems much easier to endure than being under a microscope subject to other people’s criticism if they disclose the abuse.  Even when reported, not every case of sexual abuse can be prosecuted in the criminal justice system because of the very high burden of proof required under our Constitution.  However, as a society, we have a human obligation to support and assist every brave survivor who comes forward to seek help. If we do not, sexual abuse will continue to pervade our culture.  Far too long we have kept sexual abuse in the secret shadows and have not ensured that survivors can feel safe reporting sexual abuse.

Studies show that more than half of all sexual assaults are never reported and only 12% of childhood sexual abuse is ever reported.  The question we should all be asking is, “How do we encourage every person who is sexually abused to report it?”  The answer is, “We must Start by Believing.”  Until our culture is willing to provide comfort, safety and genuine support for those who are abused, victim survivors will continue to hold the pain inside without seeking help through reporting. This will enable sexual abusers to continue their predatory behavior.

I stand up for survivors of abuse and sexual assault because I know that sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse is extremely underreported and every single person, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status, deserves to be supported and treated with dignity and respect. We must come together as Americans and commit to stopping sexual violence wherever it occurs.

This is not a partisan political issue. It is a culture issue. To change our culture, let’s “Start by Believing.”

You can help by volunteering or supporting our local nonprofit organizations RISE and Stand Strong.


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Djgleno

Fyi they are still using the chair as a means of cowersion in jail …


Djgleno

Your office , lies and cheats holds kids hostage with cws and then traffics them . all the while parents are keeps silent if the speak up the go to jail. And all the while you knew this was going on and you also knew mcguire was assaulting citizens and filing false reports to cover it up. All because he is your friend. What dose that say about you Dan. Or dose chief burtons wife working for cps as adoption specialist of the kids her husband takes illigaly. Seem ok to you. He profits from the kids she adopts. Human trafficking. plain and simple. you are the head of the largest gang in the county Dan criminal a criminal. Along with mcguire the burtons, lewis, leir and stannberry, patlachi, zurker, sutton, and devon drake.


standup

Dan, for you to ride on the coat tails of the libs shows your true colors. You lost me when you failed to prosecute the animals that killed the man tied to a chair for 48 hours. Go back in you cave.


kayaknut

Yes Dan, go back to hanging our with Hill, Parkinson, Harmon, and the rest the of your protected class. We are not buying your fake concern.


Snoid

Um wow, lots of insight into why victims of abuse dont come forward. Now how about some insight into why you have failed at protecting the residents from the scum that runs SLO county.  The Hills, the two punks in the latest headliner, the Worrel’s, The Wallace’s, the murders of innocent arrested individuals. Its pretty clear to a growing number of residents of slo co your oath is to protect your cronies who hide behind a boys club of thief’s and liars. Along with the endless other problems such as the Sheriffs dept handling of events, SLO county is a bastion of White collar crime spinning out of control and has long been. You were put in place with the hopes you’d change that but we can see that’s a pipe dream. 


DocT

“”This is not a partisan political issue. It is a culture issue. To change our culture, let’s “Start by Believing.”””


Undoubtedly, DA Dow wrote this piece completely apart from any influence from the Kavanaugh hearings. Of course he did! He’s not a politician…..oh, well scratch that last part.


The thing to keep in mind is that evidence is not the only “useful” thing when it comes to justice! Just because the evidence proves something doesn’t mean that emotions and cultural/political pressure shouldn’t trump (no pun intended) evidence!


Sometimes truth must take a backseat to politics, for the greater good.


Let’s all change our culture today by believing every charge of sexual assault. Things will definitely change…..


copperhead

If a woman claims that I sexually assaulted her yesterday in downtown slo or a man claims I robbed his downtown store, but I was in Utah yesterday, please investigate, but don’t believe until you do.


copperhead

There must be an election coming up. I would think an attorney would want to listen, investigate corroborate evidence (if any), then prosecute or choose not to. There are two sides to any allegation, whether sexual assault or otherwise. Should people with no credible evidence or an axe to grind always be believed?


This is very disappointing.


Djgleno

Wow Dow have you filed aginst McGuire yett your staff of investigators need some training or is the irrefutable video of McGuire and cps abducting my son cause we are gay not enough for you. How about the countless women that claim he’s assaulted them. Or Maybe cause him along with your people’s lack of believing in the members of the community. Or a cop who is a known lier. You can’t hide from the truth sir. If your office had done its job. My son would be home with me and McGuire and his dirty lil friends would be in jail. I once believed in you and even voted for you . Boasted the system works … How wrong I was .Its broken . Kidnapping murder rape assaults . Word is you two are friends . Go to the same church . Did it ever occur to you this man you know was a lier and abused his authority . In a few month I’ve managed to prove to the public and community he kidnapped my son . Yet u still would continue to prosecute me and my lover knowing it to be untrue, allowing the family court to disregard any civil right of due process I have . To take and sell him to a local family who’s bought him from the chief of polices wife miss Burton .all the while hiding behind my sons confidentiality. Dow your office dose not play fair nor do you “Believe” any one who ain’t white rich and connected. Next time perhaps manning up would be better, simply ” I’m sorry I did not care about your family or your child’s suffering it was not ok .and I will fix it. No instead you write this crap about believing. I believe you really don’t give a dam about those kids my kid or anyone else unless it effects your conviction rate .And Dow my sons name is Jasper he was kidnapped by McGuire . But u knew that already didn’t you. Now what will you do ? Go cut the chomo a nice deal offer to cover it up or send your goons to silence those who would not take your deals …. I know they profit from the adoption, what are you getting out of it. With the evidence I have against McGuire I received from your office. Return my son . And arrest McGuire. Of is your friend above the law. And human trafficking ok in San Luis. Your destroying any faith we have in your ability to do the right thing. But tell the to the victim . Everyday your office lets them keep my son is one more day Too long. Maliciousness prosecution is also a form of criminal activitie. Or dose the color of law only apply to cops on cam. Your words are empty as a survivor of Fred Hoffman over 25 years ago you did not even have the courtesy to tell me u allowed him to move across the street from my home. I will never believe you again neither should any one else.shame on you. Shame shame shame. Cooper and Seana Elkins hold my son hostage. And u talk about timely filings . Respectfully Dow you should resign. That’s what I believe .


DocT

I used an Internet translation program and copied DA Dow’s words above and pasted them for translation, from VirtueSignalingPanderSpeak to Plain English:


“”Tracey Nix helped me convict a ton of sexual assault perps and now they’re going to be overturned because Nix has been lying and misrepresenting herself in order to help me gain convictions.


I’m writing this to pander to the #metoo movement and to show that when it comes to sexual assualt, everyone is guilty until proven innocent…..which is why we hire liars to help keep them from proving their innocence.”””


rukidding

Dan should stay out of politics and just do his job of prosecuting all of the criminals in this county. Everyone, yes everyone should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Sometimes that is difficult to do when there is so much public information available. I have attended many sexual harassment classes and it’s became very simple that if a female believes she was harassed it’s a done deal. This is evidence by all of the payoffs that government agencies have made. It’s become quite clear that a sexual harassment allegation can be made and most agencies will just pay off under the ruse that it’s cheaper that way. So much for guilt or innocence.. It was also made clear that if someone thaought they were harassed that could be enough. An example could be “you are cute would you like to go out?” I wish I were kidding.