A Firsthand Account of Victim 1’s Fight Against Jerry Sandusky: Silent No More
On June 22, 2012, it was reported that Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of forty-five counts of sexual abuse. Immediately following the breaking of this news, the questions began: How did he get away with it? What kind of person could do such a thing? How could the boys’ mothers not know? What must it have been like for those boys? This fall, Aaron Fisher, aka Victim Number One, released his memoir of the ordeal, and this memoir, Silent No More, co-written with his psychologist Michael Gillum, MA, and mother Dawn Daniels, addresses each of these questions.
Silent No More is written from three points of view: Aaron, Dawn, and Mike. The true story plays out from the perspectives of each of these people. Aaron begins with his perception of the great football coach, Jerry Sandusky, a man who took an interest in him and made him feel like a special kid. Dawn, a single mother trying to do the best she can, is at first appreciative of the role Jerry plays in Aaron’s life. He takes the time for kids, both formally through his charity, Second Mile, and on a more personal level, too: Sandusky brings the kids to a local swimming pool, has them over to play video games. Mike enters the story shortly after Aaron breaks down at school at the age of fourteen, finally coming forth with the truth of what had been happening.
This telling of the gut-wrenching story of a powerful pedophile and predator and his prey is at once matter-of-fact and steeped in the harshest and deepest of emotions. Dawn’s feelings of guilt as a mother who “let this happen” to her son are evident all along. Aaron’s own feelings – fear of how much farther Sandusky would take the abuse, fear of being ostracized, fear of people not believing him, and even fear of the repercussions for Sandusky – are woven throughout his narrative in such a way that leaves room for pity, but plays more so off of a certain hope. Mike’s telling is from the vantage point of someone who cares so much about kids and wants what’s best for them – and also knows all too well the difficulties a kid faces when up against a monster.
We all know by now how the story ends, and Aaron, Dawn, and Mike get us from the beginning to conviction in a way that is as thoughtful as it is straightforward. From the politics that affected the investigation, to the psychological toll the terrible experience took on Aaron, from the cover-ups that had taken place years earlier to the final conviction and sentencing of Jerry Sandusky, Silent No More answers the above questions and more.