Psychologist Who Counseled ‘Victim 1’ in Jerry Sandusky Case Establishes Silent No More Foundation to Help Child Abuse Victims, Bring Perpetrators to Justice
1 in 4 Children in U.S. are Sexually Molested; 88% of abuse is never reported
Foundation aggressively doing more to end abuse ‘because more must be done’
What began as a lone fight for justice is now a fully established charitable foundation on a mission to end child sexual abuse in the United States and around the world.
Michael Gillum, the licensed psychologist who counseled child abuse victim Aaron Fisher and had an instrumental role in the prosecution of Fisher’s molester, Jerry Sandusky, has formed Silent No More Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to help victims of child sexual abuse, bring perpetrators to justice, and prevent abuse through public outreach and education.
“As a result of the Sandusky case and, more recently, Larry Nassar’s abuse of members of the U.S.A. Gymnastics Team, a revolution has begun,” says Gillum, who serves as president of the foundation. “Victims are no longer staying silent. The shell of perpetrators who have or are associated with money, power or influence is cracking. Silent No More Foundation is supporting this revolution in powerful ways. We are doing more to help child sexual abuse victims and aggressively bring perpetrators to justice – because more must be done.”
Silent No More Foundation’s origin can be traced back to 2012, when Gillum co-authored New York Times best-seller Silent No More: Victim 1’s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky, along with Fisher and Fisher’s mother. Subsequently, Gillum received hundreds of requests for services from victims and their family members throughout the United States.
To provide services to these victims, Gillum assembled an informal group of professional counselors and support providers. Together, they have assisted more than 150 victims and helped stop five pedophiles from continuing to molest children.
This momentum, and continued calls for support, energized Gillum and his colleagues. They had honed a sophisticated approach to simultaneously help victims and take down pedophiles – and it was working. The group then turned their attention toward expanding their efforts. Silent No More, now an organization with a proven strategy and a mission, was born.
Gillum points to staggering child sexual abuse statistics that underscore the magnitude of the problem: According to the 2015 Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, 28 percent of U.S. children age 14-17 have been sexually victimized at some point in their lifetime; a study published by faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina found that 88 percent of child abuse is never reported.
“The current socio-legal system fails to reach out to victims or potential victims of child sexual abuse,” Gillum says. “The system does not ensure victims receive appropriate treatment and proper advocacy. Too often, perpetrators aren’t prosecuted despite sufficient reason. Silent No More is staunchly motivated to remedy these systemic failings.”
Silent No More Foundation provides free and confidential support to victims and their families – regardless of whether the abuse occurred recently or years ago; regardless of whether the victim is a child or is now an adult. Immediate counseling is provided by a qualified therapist. After providing immediate support, the foundation facilitates an introduction to a therapist, local to the victim, who can provide ongoing services at no cost or the lowest cost possible.
To help stop pedophiles and protect other children from abuse, Silent No More provides guidance and support to victims who are ready to tell their stories to law enforcement. Victims are accompanied by Silent No More counselors throughout this process.
Counselors also work with victims, and their family members and friends, to identify other individuals who were molested by same perpetrator. This compassionate and protective process often locates dozens of other victims who typically haven’t told anyone of the abuse they endured. Sometimes these additional victims decide to file police reports, making prosecution possible as District Attorneys require more than one victim to proceed to trial.
Silent No More aggressively advocates for victims as well, helping them navigate the justice system, secure basic needs and receive a proper education unhindered by their victimization.
Joining forces with Silent No More Foundation is The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The NYSPCC, established in 1875, was the first child protection agency in the world. Since NYSPCC’s founding, the organization has served more than two million children, parents, caregivers and welfare professionals.
“I commend Michael Gillum on creating Silent No More Foundation,” says Mary L. Pulido, Ph.D., executive director of The NYSPCC. “The unique approach Mike and his team have developed to help abuse victims and stop perpetrators is successfully addressing cracks in the system. Child sexual abuse is a severe societal problem. Through our partnership with Silent No More, we look forward to cooperative efforts to raise awareness, reach individuals who need support, and advocate for public policy changes that will help stop and prevent abuse.”
For more information about Silent No More Foundation, or to contact the organization for free, confidential support, visit silentnomore.co or call 1-888-328-0865. The foundation, a qualified 501(c)(3) organization, also is accepting contributions via its website to directly support its mission to help victims of child sexual abuse.