I was watching Tyler Perry on the Oprah Winfrey television show on October 20, 2010, and he spoke with Oprah about a conversation that closely touches my soul. Tyler Perry is multi-talented, a forty-one year old black man who happens to be a producer, a director, a writer and an actor, with multi-television series and movies. Still even though he is rich and famous, Tyler Perry still bears scars on his soul from his horrific childhood. Tyler Perry was a victim of child abuse, both physically and verbally from the hands of his father, and also suffered acts of sexual molestation from a man and woman. Tyler’s story initiated flashbacks of my past, because we share a somewhat similar story, except I’m not famous on the wide screen.
Tyler Perry used his inner survivor skills to cope as an abused child by being creative, turning into his inner happy child persona. Tyler Perry said males don’t speak up about incidents of child and sexual abuse as often as females. There’s too much shame in making a confession. Sexual and child abuse does occur in the male population, and with young male teenagers. Tyler Perry had to work on repairing the emotional damage inflicted on him as a child. I started using my gift for words as a young child, writing and creating verbal imagery of perfect families and perfect love to block out the cruel reality in my life.
Tyler Perry’s mother was also a victim of domestic abuse, being a passive personality, and my mother was also passive. My mother allowed herself to be physically and mentally abused, and also allowed her children to suffer. When I grew up, the word in my home was, “Silence.” “Children are to be seen and not heard.” This was drilled into me. You just didn’t share with anyone about the horrors occurring in your personal life. I believed no-one cared and also believed that maybe what was happening in my home was also happening in my other friend’s homes.
Tyler Perry acted out as a young man because of his shuttered rage, even reportedly burning down a house. A young teenager can be totally confused from being sexually and physically abused. Many victims of abuse find individual ways to cope with the damage inflicted on their souls, sometimes in positive ways but often in disastrous ways. The shame from feeling physical pleasure from sexual abuse messes with your psyche. Your body can respond to tactile touch even though you purely hate what is happening to you.
Forgiveness is something all survivors of abuse have to reach in order to go forward with their lives. Tyler Perry found strength to release the bitterness and anger in order to forgive his father for all the horrendous physical and verbal abuse he inflicted on him. He hasn’t seen his father but takes care of him financially. He still prefers not to have a relationship with him.
My father and I were estranged for years after I decided I couldn’t deal with his failure to apologize for his actions. I continued to see him even when I was married and had children, until one day I realized I was doing more damage to myself by continuing to see him. Until my father’s death we never communicated, and never discussed our family life. I never received an apology for his behavior.
Baring your soul to the world is a feat many can never obtain. As a survivor I bear scars, but I decided to open up and share my story with others, in order to possibly help other victims take a step and open up to start their healing process. Each time I hear another tale of child and sexual abuse, my soul bares itself and still recalls the pain I suffered through. I wear my battle scars but also face my life as a positive survivor. I have managed to pull myself up and am determined to live my life with love. I continue to create fiction about happy families in my writing.
Many people cringe, turn the television off or turn the newspaper page quickly when they glimpse another tale of child or child sexual abuse. Blinders will not stop the horrendous acts of sexual, physical or verbal abuse, only an open dialogue will. Open your eyes and be willing to listen, or offer a hand to someone you suspect are a victim of domestic abuse. Be your neighbor’s friend, sometimes your offer will dramatically alter an abused victim’s life. Know where to go to help. The phone number for the, “National Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline,” is 1-800 422-4453.
Tyler Perry decided to share his personal tragedy and survival to help others start a conversation. Oprah Winfrey will share a show November 5th with Tyler Perry and the audience will be two hundred men who have been abused as children. You can find further info about this upcoming show at Oprah Winfrey’s official website link below.
You can find out more about Tyler Perry at his official website link below.
http://www.preventchildabuse.org/index.shtml is a website link for further information about preventing child abuse.