Yesterday on a tear-filled episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show, filmmaker Tyler Perry opened up about the abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of multiple adults over many years.
He described an incident in which his virginity was taken from him by a friend's mother after a play date.
She tells me to go home, and I go to the door to try and unlock the door ... and I couldn't unlock it. She lays on the sofa and spreads her legs -- I didn't know she was wearing lingerie at the time -- and I said, 'I have to go home ...' And she lights a cigarette and she takes the key ... and I come over to get it and she puts it inside of herself [vagina] and she tells me to get it, so I get the key but I feel my body betraying me ... because I felt an erection. She pulled me on top of her and I was inside of her, so my first sexual experience with a woman ... that was it.
He said he was molested by at least three other adults -- a male neighbor, a nurse, and a priest, the first when he was about 5.
He wasn't safe, even from his own father, who beat him almost daily.
Here he is describing how he was beaten so badly that he blacked out for THREE DAYS.
It's appalling and frightening to think that any child would endure such horrors at the hands of adults, but what an amazing example Perry is of resilience and overcoming adversity.
How easily he could have succumbed to the sorrow and the anger and the injustice of it all, but he didn't.
"Anger is good, bitterness is not," he said.
It wasn't an easy road for him, he admits. He had ongoing problems with intimacy and women and even attempted suicide when he slit his wrists as a teenager.
He credits his mother and faith for saving him.
My mother was truly my saving grace, because she would take me to church with her. I would see my mother smiling in the choir, and I wanted to know this God that made her so happy .... If I had not had that faith in my life, I don’t know where I would be right now.
So many children out there are faced with such bleak, damaging childhoods, and Perry shows them that they can overcome the odds, that there is something to live for if they can just hang on.
Bravo, Perry, for having the courage to share your story that has the potential to inspire so many, who need hope so badly.
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