Former ESPN Dana Jacobson Speaks Out on Being Molested as a Child

Coming on the heels of Jerry Sandusky being found guilty of child molestation there is now a heighten awareness about kids who have been abused, but are afraid to publicly admit it.

I am sure this was difficult for Jacobson to share, but it will probably give a kid the courage to come forward with their story.

Like the young men who bravely took the stand in the Sandusky trial, I was molested as a child. That’s still not easy for me to say, let alone write and share publicly, but if we’ve learned anything from the Sandusky scandal it’s that the time for silence is over. As I heard one Sandusky victim put it, it’s time to “find my voice.”

It was something I couldn’t do when I was molested. I didn’t speak out, no matter how many chances I may have had. I just couldn’t.

In my case, my monster was a babysitter, a neighborhood teen that my parents and others trusted. I had been told to obey him, like any other babysitter or authority figure. Forget the shame, fear, and overwhelming confusion that went along with the sexual abuse, we both knew that he was the one in charge. Is it any wonder my silence came so easily?

Strangers are supposed to be the ones we fear, not people we know. How many times have you heard the phrase “stranger danger?” Yet in many cases of child molestation if only the opposite were true. One expert I heard Friday night on MSNBC said that about 90% of the cases of child sexual abuse involve someone known to the victim. That held true for me and for the victims of Jerry Sandusky.

Like some of those young men, I was in my early 20s when I first acknowledged that I had been molested. The abuse happened twice. It was inappropriate touching, fondling of genitalia. It may not have been as frequent or severe as what I read about in the case of Sandusky’s victims but that doesn’t make the abuse I suffered any less real or the shame I felt any less overwhelming.

You see a couple of the people I shared my story with were also victims and went on to share their stories for the first time. My courage helped them find theirs. I can’t begin to tell you what that means to me.

Beyond that, I’ve learned that each time I tell my story, I let go of some of the shame and guilt I’ve carried with me for years. Those feelings so deeply buried at times they seem never ending. So truth be told, my sharing right now is really just a part of that long road to recovery I mentioned earlier, the one Jerry Sandusky’s victims are just beginning.

I’d like to thank them for helping me take this latest step, finding my voice. I hope by doing so, I can help others find theirs.

That was a very courageous thing for Dana to do and if you want to read her entire story you can do so here.

Hopefully, like she said more people will find their voice and speak out, so monsters like Sandusky and her baby sitter aren’t able to be predators on children.