Tyler Perry, who was sexually abused as a child, calls the 11-year-old who came forward against Jerry Sandusky in the Penn State sex scandal his hero.
In an open letter to the unnamed victim to be published in Newsweek, Perry, who's Hollywood's highest-paid man, says the boy was "so courageous" for speaking out at that age — something he didn't do.
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"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!" Perry writes. "I must tell you, what you have done is so courageous. The strength that it must have taken for your 11-year-old voice to speak out about such a horrible act is something that I didn't have the strength or courage to do at that age."
Perry, who revealed last year that was molested as a child in New Orleans, recounts his experience, saying he felt "powerless" because no one listened to him. "So to think that you, when you were only 11 years old, spoke up — you are my hero!" he says. "I'm so proud of you. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I want you to know you didn't do anything wrong. It's not your fault. Please know that you were chosen by a monster. You didn't choose him. You didn't ask for it and, most of all, you didn't deserve it."
Though he doesn't name names, Perry alludes to the Penn State higher-ups and witnesses, like ousted football coach Joe Paterno, who allegedly neglected to report the abuse by Sandusky to authorities.
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"Do you know that at the young age of 11 you had more courage than all the adults who let you down?" he writes. "All of the ones who didn't go to the proper authorities, all of the ones who were worried about their careers, reputations, or livelihoods. All of the ones who didn't want to get involved. Or even the ones who tried to convince your mother not to fight. You are stronger than them all! I wonder what they would have done if it were their own child."
The 42-year-old actor-writer-director emphasizes that the "hardest part" is over for the victim, despite the fact that a trial may loom if Sandusky — whom Perry calls "the coward and very sick individual" — does not plead guilty. Sandusky, who has been charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse against children, has maintained his innocence, telling Bob Costas two weeks ago that he's only "horsed around with kids."
Perry adds that millions will support the victim if he were called to testify.
"You may have to go through with that trial, and you may feel all alone when you're on that witness stand, but just know that there are millions of young boys and grown men who are standing with you — including me," he says. "If every man who has ever been molested would speak up, you would see that we're all around you. You may not know all of our faces and names, but my prayer is that you feel our strength holding you up. You will get through this; you've already endured the worst part at age 11. Now fight on, my young friend, fight on! We are all with you."