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When Mo’Nique, the funny woman with the larger-than-life sense of humor, took on the role of an abusive mother in the film “Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire,” the actress set her current contentment aside and recalled a much harder time in her life. In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, Mo’Nique opens up about the sexual abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of her eldest brother – and how she channeled that experience onscreen.

“Coming from being molested as a child, when [director Lee Daniels] said, ‘I need you to be this monster,’ well [I] knew who that monster was,” she says.

In the October 2008 issue of Essence, Mo’Nique revealed:

“I was molested by my older brother. And even when I confronted him and told my parents, he said I was lying, and nothing was really done.”

He often used candy to lure her into the bathroom, where much of the abuse took place, beginning when Mo’Nique was just seven. Her parents never believed her.

“…Because me and my brother were both their children, and I just don’t know the kind of position they felt they were in. My father was very upset, but it never got mentioned again. I’ll never forget my mother saying, ‘If it’s true, it will surface again,’ and I remember thinking, ‘Why would I lie? Why is there even an ‘if’ in this?’ I was angry with them for so long, because I felt as if they should have seen what was happening.”“My brother was a monster to me.”

Her brother went on to serve 15 years in prison for sexually abusing another girl and has never apologized for Mo’Nique’s sexual abuse.

“He still acts like he doesn’t know what I’m talking about. So screw hurting your feelings. You need to get your feelings hurt, and you need to get some help.”

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