Seeing so many of the former Penn State defensive coordinator's victims confront him in court inspired Jacobson for the first time to publicly share the story of the abuse she endured as a child.
Jacobson revealed on her personal blog Monday morning that a male babysitter hired by her parents molested her several times when she was a child. The "shame, fear, and overwhelming confusion" from the incident prevented Jacobson from speaking out when it happened, but she informed her family in her early 20s and a few close friends and colleagues since then.
"I remember faking a stomach ache to try to keep my parents from going out when I knew my abuser was coming to babysit," Jacobson wrote. "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."
Jacobson deserves immense credit for having the courage to share the story of the abuse she endured.
A public figure speaking out can only help to end the false sense of shame and isolation that other survivors carry. The sooner being a victim of sexual abuse becomes less of a societal taboo, the harder it will be for rapists, pedophiles and other predators to find targets willing to remain silent.
Each time Jacobson has shared her story, she says some of the shame and guilt she once felt continues to dissipate. The former "SportsCenter" and "First Take" host hopes her blog post empowers others to come forward and take that same significant step in the recovery process.
"A couple of the people I shared my story with were also victims and went on to share their stories for the first time," Jacobson said. "My courage helped them find theirs. I can't begin to tell you what that means to me."