Please Don’t Be Shocked

This evening I watched ABC’s 20/20 interview with Aaron Fisher, aka Victim 1.  As Fisher explained how he was groomed and how Sandusky used other people to assist in gaining access to Fisher,  I found myself nodding.  I was disturbed and disgusted, but not shocked.

Fisher explained feeling he was giving his mother as many hints as he dared without coming right out and telling her.  He shared his fear of not being believed and when that fear was realized, how it affected him. The story was much too familiar.  It wasn’t my story.  The facts were not the same.  The methodology of the predator was.  The actions of many of the adults involved were.   His fears were.  It wasn’t just the familiarity with my experience, but with almost every survivor that I’ve met with over the years.  There was nothing shocking about his story.  It was simply, “Uh-huh, uh-huh.  Yep, that’s how it is.  That’s what I thought.  That’s what I was afraid of.”  So on and so on.

However, I know many people will watch the segment and be shocked.  Outraged even.  They will be disgusted.  They will comfort themselves with the thought that this is a shocking but rare story about sexual abuse.  They will tell themselves that they would know if their child was being abused.

Fisher is on the road to recovery.  Sandusky has been sentenced to life plus 13 years. (How does that work?)  Last week we learned that 10 yr. old Jessica Ridgeway will not be coming home.  Her abduction and murder made national news.  Murdered children make the news.  Accusing a celebrity like Sandusky (or Michael Jackson) of sexual abuse against children will make the news.  Tonight consider your street.  Statistics vary but it is estimated that between 10-28% of children experience a sexual assault before they are 18 years old.  60% of molesters are not strangers, but family friends or trusted acquaintances.  Aaron Fisher’s story is disturbing.  Sandusky’s behavior is disgusting.  It is NOT shocking.  Please don’t be shocked.  Be aware.

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