“Everybody needs somebody”

A reader says:

I just wanted to say that I was brutally attacked and abused as a child. I grew up homeless with my mother and was also abused by her.By the time I was 13 I was a prostitute and full blown drug addict and alcoholic. I was held at gun point , kidnapped and raped and assaulted over the years more times than I can count. I am now 37 years old and although I have had a history of being in Jails and misdemeanor offenses over the years , I was very tempted to commit crimes , one of them being to kill my mother , I never did. There is no excuse to be violent and cause others pain. I have attempted suicide many times , and failed….but I wanted to say that I , being a person with an exremly tragic past where silent violence was done to me from the time I was a toddler , have not abused another person like this man. I do think that God has provided for him in a friend like you. I think that if he would have had a compassionate caregiver as a child it would have vastly changed him.

Falling through the cracks of the system is something that happens to people like me and people like him all of the time. I only went to the 1st week of 7th grade and have had so many problems that I cannot even focus enough to obtain my GED. I have not been able to hold a job and the jobs I have had , are nothing more than flipping burgers or picking up trash. The way I was treated in my life caused me to feel just like that , trash. But I never give up and continue to try to overcome and even when I feel like taking out my anger on others , I do something else. I pray , or when I am so mad at God I cannot do that , I get drunk….or stay in bed and watch TV. Thats how I saw the program that you were on. I try not to feel sorry for myself , and realize that I am not less than human although I feel like I am.

Everybody needs somebody. And you are that person for this man. I don’t buy the excuse that his childhood made him do it , because of my own life , but I think that whatever it is , it is good for him to have you as a friend and I hope that he can someday face what he did without blaming someone else , although in essence I do blame others and even God sometimes for not being able to get it together. Thanks for seeing one person in this world and having compassion where noone else would. It lets me know that there are people who still have feelings. Whose hearts aren’t hardened. One more glimpse of Hope and a little more faith , this gives to people . Faith in mankind.


Dear Rhebecca,

Thank you for sharing your story, especially on your efforts to deal with your anger over what happened to you. I’m glad you have not let it define you.

And please know I agree with you–I don’t buy the excuse that Brents’ childhood made him hurt others–that was his choice. Knowing about his background helps explain the “why” behind the havoc he wreaked upon others, but it sure doesn’t excuse it.

I think that over the years, he has come to blame no one but himself. As it should be.

And, again, you’re right–I do have compassion for him. Not pity, but compassion. And honestly, before I covered his case, I had hardened my heart from years of covering difficult stories. And then his case showed me a lot about human nature–not just from him, but from his attorney, and some of his victims, and by how the mainstream media reacted–and I slowly started to change. I’m still cynical at times. I’m a work in progress. But I do what I can, and it’s comments like yours to this website that continue to nudge me in the right direction.

Whatever you do, Rhebbecca, don’t give up your faith. It may feel like it at times, but you are not alone.


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