Far Reaching Effects of the Penn State Tragedy

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by WFAA

wfaa.com

Posted on January 9, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Q: I want to convey my respect to Dale Hansen and this station, for Dale's piece about the sexual abuse of children, which included the sharing of his personal experience.  I worked in CPS and witnessed the damage that sexual abuse does to children.  His statements about secrecy and shame were accurate. His report included a number of excellent points that, I believe, will help others who are ignorant of this issue to stop and think about it and be more open to a different perspective because they respect Dale Hansen.  I believe this report will inspire others to share their stories. I thank him and everyone at the station who supported the airing of this report.

Donalda

Q: Thank you for allowing Dale Hansen to speak on behalf of the children of sexual abuse.  I know many who have carried shame for years for something that they did not choose nor invite to have happen, yet they feel somehow responsible. I am a survivor, and have overcome sexual abuse.  I hope that there will be more media given not only to those who don't tell and should but to those who do tell and their family members don't believe them or ignore them.  I know many who were punished as children as a result of telling that their dad, step-dad, brother, grandfather, cousin or the boy down the street was touching inappropriately or worse yet, having sexual contact with them, some at a very early age.  Mom could not believe it…or didn't want to.  Thanks for listening and thank you again for allowing Dale to share such a sensitive subject and for encouraging young people to not feel the shame and stigma associated with being a victim of childhood sexual abuse.   

Michelle

Q: Dale Hansen my new hero.  Please thank him for his bravery in sharing his experience.  Hopefully with his actions are we one step closer to allowing victims to overcome the shame that comes with sexual abuse.  Please, please thank him and let him know that he is in my prayers.

Renee

Q: Please thank Dale Hanson for his candor and selflessness on Sunday night's “Thank God For Kids” by revealing his own childhood trauma at the hands of his hometown's predator. Dale has often managed to polarize viewers, but this evening's truth was very moving and will, we hope, move even just one person to speak out when they are aware of abuse. Thank you, Dale!

Sherry

Q: Dale Hansen’s “Thank God for Kids” segment was awesome! My father molested me almost 50 years ago (I just turned 58). I can still remember the exact spot in my childhood backyard where it happened.  May the value of children’s innocence be treasured and cared for by all caring adults!  May more adults speak out against child molestation so that children do not have to live in fear, shame and loneliness?  Give us more people like Dale Hansen!  Thank you, Dale!  

Michael

Q: Regarding Dale Hansen, sometimes I love him and sometimes I hate him, but I've got to say publicly to someone, way to go Dale. He's right on target. It's time that sexual abuse victims are not a secret. There is a lot to fix in our country these days. Most of it seems too complicated to tackle, but if 30 of Dallas' leaders spent 5 minutes on the air talking about this subject, we'd have a one-month assault on this problem. A lot of people would realize that times have changed and individual actions would change. I bet that would be national news, and other regions of the country would take up the banner and run with it. That would seem like a miracle to some innocent victims. Way to go Dale. 

Q: What Dale Hansen said on TV tonight about being abused as a child was the bravest thing he could do, it was simply wonderful. If only all of us could do that, that was just wonderful. No I am not a kid I am a grandmother - but I was abused when I was 5 and I have never ever told anyone, for him to do that on TV took so much courage, what a wonderful man.

A: Below is the text from Dale’s recent commentary, and a link to the video portion of the story.
http://www.wfaa.com/sports/dale-hansen/Dale-Hansen-Thank-God-for-Kids-135840468.html
It has been more than a month now since the sex scandal at Penn State stunned the Happy Valley and changed the lives of so many forever.

Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has said he's innocent of the charges he faces for sexually abusing so many young kids, but he stood silently by while the Penn State president, the athletic director and the legendary coach Joe Paterno lost their jobs in disgrace.

Is that really the action of an innocent man?

But then, they stood silently by while being told that Sandusky was abusing the children he says he was trying to help.

Nobody's innocent here, and those kids have lost their innocence forever because nobody talks about the abuse of a child.

The victim of a sexual crime is the only victim we don't talk about, and maybe it's time we do.

The Congresswoman from Arizona, Gabby Giffords, the victim of a gunman's bullet to the head, became a TV show.

She was reduced to a shell of her former self.  She couldn't walk and she couldn't talk.  And when she eventually could, she thought her chair was a spoon.

And we saw it all because she was a victim and now a survivor, and we shine a light for all to see.  But the victims of sexual abuse, they stay hidden in the darkness.

A reminder of the shame so many of them feel...and nobody should.

Sexual abuse of our children is the cancer that lives and walks among us, but a cancer survivor wears their ribbon proudly and we all stand to cheer as they walk by in their annual parade.

But who stands to cheer for the victim of a sexual assault?  And much like cancer, we all know a victim.

It might be a child in your family...a cousin or a brother...the kid on the corner... a kid in your class.
We all know somebody. You might not think you do, but I know you do.

Because you all know me.

I was 10 years old in my little Iowa town.  It really was the Mayberry of the Midwest.  Everybody knew everybody (at least we thought we did).

A 16-year-old boy said, 'Let's ride our bikes to the ball field at the edge of town,' but there was nobody there.  He then started what Sandusky would describe as "horsing around" until he threw me to the ground and pulled at my pants.

I can still take you to the spot on the ball field where it happened.  I know exactly where it was.  But then it was only 53 years ago.

He had my pants below my knees before he decided to let me go, and I don't know why.  My screams couldn't have been heard.  There was nobody there.

Maybe he was afraid of my dad, because in my hometown, everybody was.

But I never told my dad.

I never told anybody.

And too many times in the last month, I've had to ask myself how many little boys didn't get away? How many lives did that monster ruin because I didn't tell.

If he had stolen my bike...the glove on the handlebar...the dollar in my pocket...or simply punched me in the face and blackened an eye, I would have told everybody.

Instead, I told nobody.

Because even then I knew no one talks about the sexual abuse of a child.

And maybe it's time we do.

No one knows who actually said it, but we need to remember it now: The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

The good men at Penn State University didn't, and the innocence of a child was lost forever.

Talk to your children, and — more importantly — make sure that your children aren't afraid to talk to you.

The innocence of a child is worth fighting for. The innocence of a child is worth the job of a coach. The innocence of a child is worth talking about.

That's why I choose to talk about it tonight.

And it's why at this time of year, every year, I want the Oak Ridge Boys to remind us all: "Thank God for Kids."

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