Article by Laura Milcarzyk | Additional Reporting by Nadia Kaczkowski | Photography by Neil Harman | Owl Staff
While most 15-year-olds are concerned with friends, school, and games, Aaron Fisher faced the biggest hurdles of his life. Instead of the aforementioned activities, Fisher went through the first of many courtroom trials where he would give a detailed account of the sexual abuse he endured by Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.
Known as the first to come forward, Fisher shares memories of speaking to that grand jury in his book, Silent No More. “Suddenly I was that little boy again… I was that little boy who was too afraid to cry or run.”
In an interview with Owl Magazine, Fisher reveals that he eventually felt better about sharing his story. “I realized that other kids had the same issue,” says Fisher, “and I didn’t want anything like what happened to me happening to anyone else.”
Fisher met Sandusky through his charity organization for needy children called Second Mile. For over a year, Sandusky was a kind-hearted mentor inviting Aaron on special outings with a group of other boys.
These outings often ended at Sandusky’s home in a basement furnished with a pool table and gaming system. Eventually, these trips involved just Aaron. He was 12-years-old.
When Aaron was 14, living with the abuse increasingly affected his life. Wanting to tell, but afraid, Fisher began avoiding Sandusky, which led to him being stalked by the coach. Concerned about this aggression towards Fisher, Dawn Daniels sought help at her son’s school.
When confronted by his school counselor, Fisher came clean, and Daniels demanded contacting the police. The principal suggested they reconsider because Sandusky “would never do such a thing.” Daniels and Fisher were faced with lack of support throughout the investigation. Their only support came from Child Protective Services.
Sandusky’s threats and abuse gave Fisher nightmares that affected his confidence to testify. “I just didn’t want to tell random people who I had never met before in my whole life,” says Fisher. “…this story that I never wanted to come out in the first place. What I had to tell them was so personal.”
This feeling became less important to him when others began to tell similar stories of abuse.
Fisher continues to share his story across America and Canada. “I lived through four years of abuse and four years of investigation. That was my childhood,” says Fisher.
“The years that I should have been enjoying growing up I was dealing with this…I’ve overcome the biggest hurdles. What’s left after that is a need for me to speak to help others do the same.”