Few actresses could have portrayed a mom who abuses her daughter physically, verbally, and sexually with the nuance that Mo’Nique showed in “Precious.” Soon after making the movie, she explained what inspired her Oscar-winning performance—she was molested when she was a child by her older brother. Ever since, her brother, Gerald Imes, has denied her claims—even after serving 12 years in prison for molesting another unidentified girl. But yesterday, he sat down on Oprah‘s couch to not only fess up, but to apologize to Mo’Nique. “I’m here today to first acknowledge that I’ve been in denial for 37 years,” he said. “I did assault and inappropriately touch my sister in manners that were uncomfortable for her. And for that, I apologize and I’m humbly sorry that those actions had taken place.” Imes explained to Oprah that his was a case of paying his pain forward—he, too, was molested by a relative. “I started using cocaine, heroin, alcohol at the age of 11,” he said. “I used these drugs to hide my own pain, to hide my own fears … The drugs allowed me and afforded me the opportunity to hurt my sister … The drugs weren’t an excuse. They just allowed me to do the things that were in the back of my mind as a kid that I always wanted to do.”
He said that his abuse of his sister took place multiple times, over a two-year period when Mo’Nique was 7 and 9. The instances occurred when he believed she was asleep.
Mo’Nique chose not to appear on the show herself, but gave Oprah her blessing to do the episode. “She said if your expressing what you had done to her could save one family then it would be worth it,” Oprah explained.
And that seemed to be Imes’ main message, too. “I can only hope that by coming forth today that somewhere along the line with the apology that, yes, hopefully somewhere, somehow as siblings we can come back together,” he said. “I’m proud [my sister] was able to finally get to a place that she could relinquish her pain.” [People, MTV, NY Daily News]
What do you think—does Imes’ apology seem heartfelt? Do you think he and Mo’Nique can forge a relationship? Is there any way to forgive someone for sexual abuse?