A letter to Brent Brents from a reader.
I am a victim of rape. The person who took away my comfortable view of the world was someone who was always close to me. So perhaps I am fit to say that I’ve lived one day in your life. I am somebody else’s victim, and you are somebody else’s victim and attacker. I cannot ever fully understand the dichotomy you are living, but I have a glimpse of at least half of the anger you may have for your attackers.
I have never been a judgmental person because I have never seen the point in it. I do not aim to judge you, but I aim to cross the communication divide between attacker and victim because I think people are complex beings with far more beyond 3 simple dimensions- and that includes you who society may deem worthless.
Rape is a power conquest, and I have been overpowered by a conquestor. I knew the whole time that I did not matter, that I was thoroughly inconsequential beneath my attacker.
After reading your story on this web site, I felt that perhaps you are cursed with an emptiness for which you demand a witness- even if you create another victim in the process. I think I am cursed with empathy, because I cannot bring myself to be angry enough at my attacker in order to grasp closure. Anger can sew up wounds, but it can also keep ripping them open.
It is a mistake to think you are only ever an attacker, just as it is a mistake to think that I am only ever a victim. I am not naïve, I read how many victims you believe you have claimed. My attacker has also claimed many- but he was never named. I did not name him because he told me not to- and I never had any power to say no to him, he never listened when I ever said “no.”
It is a mistake to say we can’t change also, because then you will never try to heal yourself. You will pace the same steps in your cellblock, with the same thoughts, the same fears, and the same hopelessness, and find comfort in the same things—things which have only ever reproduced your own anger and hopelessness because you just created more victims. You create your own hell wherever you are.
Even if you never get out of your cell (and I never leave mine, that I’ve created and locked), you need to locate your own humanity and sense of comfort or you won’t find anything within you that is human or comfortable.
Being raped left me fragmented, and there’s no quick fix for it. I had to go to a mental hospital because I literally began starving myself in order to find comfort. I wanted to disappear, to go somewhere I didn’t feel my own thoughts. I still don’t find much that is more comfortable than that. But if I can share with you some words from a doctor that helped me, I only hope they can also help you find a new perspective: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always get.”
I barely know why I am writing to you. I don’t know anymore where my attacker is, and I know I am not brave enough to tell him anything. I do know however, that silence is the death of us all. I appreciate the creation of this website, and I appreciate your ability to share your own story even though I’m sure it’s made many people angry. Most people don’t want to understand the attackers, or the predators of society.
I want people to read about those we condemn however. We need to know who we are condemning. Too many times the truth is that we have condemned them twice. The first was when they were victimized and we didn’t listen.
We need to encourage discussion, so that those who have suffered have a space to talk. If we don’t include everyone in this discussion, then we are only blindsiding ourselves. Neither communication nor peace is a one-way road.
I am not advocating for your physical freedom, what I am advocating for is your humanity’s freedom. For myself, it is the other way around.