The celebration of the brave victims that told their stories to a jury and helped convict Jerry Sandusky on 45 out of 48 charges against him has undoubtedly empowered victims of sexual abuse everywhere. Among them is former ESPN anchor Dana Jacobson.
Jacobson took to her personal blog to reveal her story of being molested as a child by a neighborhood teen.
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. Travis Weaver, one of the young men who testified in front of the grand jury in the Sandusky case but not at trial did an interview which aired on Rock Center last week. He said he was scared to say anything because he thought no one would believe him. I know that feeling.
That’s what these monsters count on, our silence. They have the power and they know it.
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?
Jacobson goes into detail on having to deal with the abuse and eventually telling her parents and brothers.
When I did tell my parents and my brother, I remember the reaction as if it were yesterday. All of them told me how sorry they were that they didn’t see any signs, that they didn’t stop the abuse, that they weren’t there for me. Just knowing they wanted to protect me, as I had expected them to do, helped ease the pain I was still feeling from childhood. I only wish I could ease the feeling of guilt I fear they will always have.
The truth is, no one suspected the abuse in my case.
I remember faking a stomach ache to try to keep my parents from going out when I knew my abuser was coming to babysit, but my silent cry was also the same tactic I used when another sitter was scheduled and I just wanted my parents to stay. How would they know the difference? I truly believe no one could have stopped the abuse unless I had told someone.
The entire post is a must read and we commend Jacobson for sharing such a private matter with the world.