October 19, 2017 10:49 AM

 

Tyler Perry has survived physical and verbal abuse at the hands of his father, as well as sexual abuse from other adults in the New Orleans community in which he grew up.

Now the writer-actor-producer wants to encourage children in similar situations to “hold on and know it’s gonna get better.”

“It’s so hard to believe when you’re a kid that there’s a better time coming,” Perry tells PEOPLE’s Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview (streaming now on People TV). “But the resilience of childhood — oh, that makes me almost emotional — the resilience of a child is so strong, and it can be so overwhelming to watch.”

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Perry is dad to 2-year-old Aman with model Gelila Bekele. He hopes his son never has to deal with the abuse he faced as a child.

“I couldn’t imagine him going through anything that I went through, and I thank God that I was the generation who made the shift,” says Perry, who initially revealed his experience with sexual abuse after executive producing Precious in 2009. “So to think about an 11 or 12-year-old going through that, that really breaks my heart.”

Perry condemns the act, and admits the abuse he faced has stayed with him beyond his youth.

“It’s not a harmless crime,” the Hollywood powerhouse continues. “It is something that is extremely difficult to move through, and it affects you and has tentacles in so many parts of your life.”

RELATED VIDEO: Tyler Perry’s Emotional Story: Why I Forgave My Abusive Father

 

The Madea creator has managed to forgive his father — who he ultimately learned is not his biological parent — and discusses the spiritual journey in his upcoming autobiography, Higher is Waiting.

“He had a lot of issues,” Perry admits. “But the thing that helped me to get over it and still take care of him today is I took a moment to find out more about him and his childhood and where he came from.”

Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween hits theaters Friday, and his autobiography Higher is Waiting is out Nov. 14.

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