In last week’s cover story on the extremely low prosecution rate for sexual assault in San Luis Obispo County (“Life after rape,” May 8), Tim Covello offered a number of recommendations to improve the situation. One was to provide cross-training regularly with organizations such as RISE, which provide advocacy services for victims. This is an excellent idea.
Yet Covello is obviously not aware that not only is this training already being provided, it is provided personally by Dan Dow. Covello also stated that it is “critically important to support agencies and programs like RISE.” Yet as a former volunteer for RISE (formerly SARP) for more than 10 years, it is very clear that Dow is the one who has worked diligently—and often thanklessly—to provide this critically needed support to the organization.
Dow communicates regularly with RISE, serving as an essential link between victims, advocates, and the District Attorney’s Office. He participated in a fundraiser for domestic violence advocates this fall. Last year, when many of us worked to bring the Start by Believing public awareness campaign to town, Dow was eager to lend his support to improving our community’s response to sexual assault victims. Dow realizes that the only way to hold sexual assault perpetrators accountable for their crimes is by partnering effectively with victims.
While Covello touts his experience in high-profile cases, Dow works tirelessly on the lowest profile cases—the ones that truly determine what kind of community we live in. This includes sexual assault and domestic violence, and victimization of all kinds committed against the most vulnerable members of our community. While Tim Covello participated in the Walk-a-Mile event sponsored by RISE in San Luis Obispo this spring, it was Dan Dow who strapped on women’s shoes to show his support for sexual assault victims and walked not only 1, but 2 miles at the events in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. This is the type of selfless leader our community needs at the helm of the District Attorney’s Office—one who is willing to do what it takes to ensure that someone is watching out for the safety and well-being of our entire community.
-- Kimberly A. Lonsway - San Luis Obispo