“I don’t know your name, but I know your face. I don’t know your journey, but I know where you are. I am your brother!” This is the opening of an open letter Tyler Perry has written to the 11-year-old who is one of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky’s alleged victims.
In the letter, which will be published in this week’s Newsweek, Perry speaks from his own experience as a survivor of sexual abuse. He reveals personal details of how his voice went unheard when he tried to tell friends and family. He is frank, but supportive, about the lifelong trauma of abuse and offers encouraging words for the young boy who stood up, telling him, “to think that you, when you were only 11 years old, spoke up — you are my hero! I’m so proud of you.” Read more below.
Inspired when he began working on the Oscar-winning film Precious, Perry has been open about his own history with molestation during his childhood in New Orleans. He assures the boy,
He asked, “Do you know that at the young age of 11 you had more courage than all the adults who let you down? … You are stronger than them all! I wonder what they would have done if it were their own child.”
Perry addresses the reality that this experience has changed the victim forever:
He finishes on a hopeful note, telling the boy, “No matter what happens next, just know that the hardest part is over.” Are you in tears, PopWatchers? Perry is most popular for his comedy, but it’s heartening that he’s using his influence to lift up a young boy in his darkest time.