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A couple of weeks ago on our annual Thank God for Kids segment, I was talking about the Penn State sex abuse scandal and the innocence of a child.

I said then that you know a victim of sexual abuse. You might not think you do, but I know you do... because you all know me.

The response to that segment has been overwhelming. More than 2,500 of you sent e-mails, many of you sharing your stories, and many that were incredibly hard to read.

I told Brad Sham this story the other day. He told me to tell you, so I will.

Here's how deep and invasive this silent abuse is: My little town in Iowa that I referred to as the Mayberry of the Midwest had a graduating class of 59, the largest they ever had, and two friends of mine wrote to say that it happened to them, too.

Now these are two guys who I played sports with; I grew up with; we vacationed together; they've been to my house a hundred times, I've been to theirs.

We have partied together; been over-served by an irresponsible bartender together; and told stories about our wives and kids and jobs we wouldn't tell anybody.

But we never told that.

They didn't know about me. I didn't know about them. And we kept that secret for more than 50 years.

My friend says he's lived with the shame alone all these years, and I told him and I'm telling you there is no shame.

We were victims, and now we're survivors.

I'm going to live the rest of whatever years I have left the way Charles Dickens wrote:

Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

And I hope my friends and all of you will, too.

E-mail dhansen@wfaa.com

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