Silent No More

Silent No More

Victim 1's Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky

Book - 2012
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A victim of Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse, Aaron Fisher first spoke up against Sandusky at age 14, weathering ostracism, harassment, fear, frustration, and guilt through the years it took to finally bring the coach to justice.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780345544162
Characteristics: xiii, 221 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.


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Mar 13, 2015

I came to this book as a kind of follow-up to journalist Bill Moushey's "Game Over," the riveting 2012 examination of the Penn State/Sandusky scandal. Both books are difficult at times to sit with but both are extremely compelling and should definitely be required reading for parents, caregivers, teachers and school administrators. I would recommend them to teens as well.

"Game Over," with its damning overview of all the ways Jerry Sandusky was able to get away with abusing Second Mile kids, will enrage you. This book will haunt.

"Silent No More" is a 3-way memoir of sorts, dividing into chapters within chapters as Aaron Fisher, the boy--now a young man--known as "Victim 1" talks about his heartrending experiences at the hands of Jerry Sandusky, the once powerful Penn State coach who started the Second Mile charity for at-risk youth back in 1977.

Aaron relates his initial delight in being accepted into the Second Mile program at age 10 and realization that its celebrated founder considered him special, and then his horror and despair when within two years the man's affection veered into continuing sexual assaults.

As Aaron struggled to get away from the man he'd once thought of as a mentor, the controlling Sandusky became increasingly unhinged. Aaron recalls how he would recognize Sandusky's car as it followed his school bus, how the former coach would call his home relentlessly, alternately pleading and demanding to see or speak to him, and even show up unannounced at his school to take him away for "sessions."

The irresponsibility of the school administrators, teachers and coaches who allowed Sandusky to do this, without the knowledge or consent of Aaron's mother Dawn, is simply mind-boggling, particularly as Aaron's grades began to fall, but most especially in the face of their own growing discomfort and suspicions at Aaron's obvious dread and anxiety (a reaction that should have raised immediate red flags) whenever Sandusky showed up. Instead of following their instincts and moving to protect the boy, they simply handed him over, no questions asked, because Jerry told them to.

Dawn Daniels, Aaron's mom, has been severely criticized for not recognizing her son's peril sooner. As Aaron's trauma presented in the form of acting up and lashing out you wonder how she couldn't see what was right in front of her. But Dawn emerges in her chapters of the book as a thoughtful, intelligent person who makes no excuses for her mistakes. As she sorts through her remembered uneasiness at Sandusky's obsessive, creepily clingy behavior, Aaron's avoidance, denials and evasions at her questioning (to this day he does not want his mother to know the graphic details of Sandusky's sexual abuse), and her initial view of Sandusky--shared by so many--as a savior for fatherless, economically underprivileged kids like her own, you begin to understand her hesitancy and confusion.

To her everlasting credit, when Dawn did realize what was happening to Aaron, she became his fiercest advocate and protector, immediately severing any further contact from Sandusky and bringing Aaron to child protection services. There they met his true savior, the dedicated psychologist and specialist in child sexual abuse, Michael Gillum.

Gillum is the 3rd narrator of this story and it is his sensitivity, kindness, expertise, and relentless advocacy--for he is determined that Sandusky be brought to justice--that over time puts back together this "broken boy" and helps him reclaim his life. Mike Gillum is a true hero.

And so is the remarkable Aaron Fisher, the first of the victims to unmask Jerry Sandusky. His testimony led to Sandusky's eventual arrest, clearing the way for other victims to come forward, and prevented future abuse.
A highly recommended read.

Jul 01, 2013

What a tragedy! It makes me sick to think of all the young men who had to endure "THE MAN" because someone would step up and do what was right!

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