Category Archives: The story

Reader: How does one feel safe with a predator?

Comment: Hey Brent,
I’ve read your recent posts with interest. I have faith in you, Brent. Hang in there.

In particular I read: “I’m just tired of the hate, I hate bullies”. May I suggest that the change you seek starts with you. What would it take to hear yourself say “I love bullies” (who, after all is not worthy of love?). This is not the same as “It’s OK to bully”. I get you have a reputation. There are stories about you. People see you how they want to see you; most times they won’t even consider a conversation with you necessary before they make up their minds about you. It’s all opinion. So make who you say you are more powerful that who they say you are. This is a massive ask, yes. But you have time to master this. Of all things you are rich in, Brent, it’s time.

Rather than a “weak little sissy” I consider taking the hit to be a sign of immense, even biblical strength and I’m inspired that you’re considering it. How about making them laugh when they give you the “the evil eye”, like “Shit man, do I have something in my teeth or are you just constipated?” (you’re a quick witted guy, your Spot gets held up at gun point had me laughing out loud at work: “How the hell would I know what Spot is feeling, I’M NOT FUCKING SPOT!”), shock them by shouting so loud in their face then run… you know the drill. With respect, I reckon you’ve mastered the skills to make yourself unnoticeable given your childhood memoir. But every time you hit back, you reinforce their story that you’re a monster.

How does one feel safe with a predator? You love it and respect it. Works the same with the bullies. To Amy, to me and to others, you’re not a monster – we just don’t see you as one, so you don’t show up as one. Would it surprise you to know that I’d choose a conversation with you in a room with no windows than a gaggle of school mums (moms) any day of the week. They are the ones that terrify me and I’m working on that. You are loved and respected. Consider this a privilege worth sharing with these guys who’ve probably had similar past stories of violence that you’ve had.

It’ll be really important to them to hold onto their opinion that you’re a monster once their minds are made up. That you’ll always bite. Then they know what’s going on and people like to know what’s going on, even if it’s horrifying. But it’s not impossible to change the story: make it your choice about who you are, not theirs, don’t give them the option to hold onto a label that isn’t yours.

Oh dear, am I preaching? I’ll stop now: I hope you read the above as invitation rather than instruction. Who the hell am I to instruct? I had a realistic dream the other night of smashing the face of an ex-boyfriend, and it was really quite satisfying….

With love and respect to you and Amy,
E

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Reader: May he continue to reflect

I just saw his thoughtful reply. “Incapable” – that’s a powerful adjective for a parent. It’s a helplessness to be able to commit to the ability to evolve. And as people, we are expected to evolve … Brent is not incapable. He – is – evolving, or trying to in many ways in a very limited and often hopeless environment. I really appreciated his time to address my letter and do some reflection and introspection.  I do disagree that his childhood didn’t shape him. I have always believed there is a danger in weaving the yarns of parental authority, physical violence, sexual violence/contact, with day to day care of childrearing. It makes a tight ball of confusion that is difficult to unwind and leave the person relatively intact. It confuses love and violence; weird sexuality and feelings; need, reliance, and hate. 
 
May he continue to reflect.  
Michelle, 6-1-2018

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considering the perpetrators of sexual violence

Comment: Hi Amy,
I’m watching your TedTalk and I just wanted to thank you for bringing up this issue of considering the perpetrators of sexual violence. You brought up a good point-that discussing why people commit such acts and seeing their suffering is not the same as excusing their actions. Really-wonderful perspective! Have you ever seen the documentary, The Mask You Live In? This discusses how we bring up boys in society and its negative effects.
Best of luck to you in all of your pursuits!
Amber

Time: May 3, 2018 at 4:54 pm
Contact Form URL: https://diaryofapredator.com/contact/

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Reader: I’m starting with this woman and moving forwards

Hi Amy,

I hope this email reaches you well. I’ve been checking into the blog and reading some great responses, as Brent advised; I’m so pleased that your message and efforts are gaining momentum…
I was moved by Brent’s last response and remain inspired by his self examination, exploration and willingness to change his position/perception. It is his response that gives me the (albeit uneducated) belief that he is not all ‘pathological predator’ and has access to his own capacity of mind or freedom of choice and will. I’m sure psychiatric opinion and even Brent himself would disagree with that belief.
My last response to Brent via the blog was delayed and my explanation to him was intentionally somewhat vague. I’m particularly mindful of a boundary between sharing my experience and ’emotional dumping’ on either you or Brent. The latter I’m not up for in the slightest. I have no expectation of either of you to facilitate, enable or otherwise be responsible for my healing: I’m inspired regardless.
Recently, the outcome of a high profile rape case was published, you may have heard of it. The Belfast Rape Case is currently doing the rounds in the UK media, where 2 rugby players were found not guilty of raping a young woman. Since then, there has been a public social media focus on the “bragging and mysogynistic” texts between these 2 individuals and others after the event. Details of these conversations were shared in court to the extent that certain slang terms such as “spit roasting” had to be explained to the judge and jury. It was these details that particularly sicken me. The outcome of case & verdict serve to assure me I was right to keep quiet 20 years ago and save myself and my family from public shame..
For this case relates so closely to my experience of being raped at both ends while at University by two visiting ‘hockey heros’ who found their own particular way to top their winning night and become ‘legends of the locker room’, by engaging in sex with someone so inebriated as to have been incapable of providing consent, were it to have been sought.
I’ve sporadically dipped into the progress of this case with mixed feelings of injustice, morbid curiosity, disbelief and anger that this behaviour still goes unacknowledged. I’m convinced this is the tip of the iceberg. I kept quiet about it 20 years and from the outcome of this case, it seems I was wise to do so. How many other vulnerable women (and men) will be encouraged to do the same?
I recall that you covered and wrote extensively about this very rotten issue across Universities and in the Military, particularly. It saddens and angers me that this practice is so widespread: 20 years on from my experience, young women remain vulnerable and unheard. Men meanwhile, remain left with the message that this is standard behaviour to be ignored at best and or rewarded by these locker room louts masquerading as “sporting legends” at worst.
To prevent this happening to just one woman, man or child to lift the burden of their shame and self enduced life sentence would be incredible… this is my intention. I’m starting with this woman and moving forwards from there…
The last couple of months have been pretty dark, and I haven’t felt partucularly courageous or hopeful following the outcome of that case. Hence, I havent been in touch, while I deal with this emotional trigger and move forwards.
I just wanted to reassure you that I remain passionate and willing about supporting you and Brent in any way I can: for your message that so inspired me, to grow and contribute to tipping the balance.
With gratitude and best wishes,
Emily
April 13, 2018

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Reader: Is rape an inevitability?

One response to “As a result of your latest post i have made the decision to not say that rape is worse than murder

There’s been a delay in my reply to you, I apologise, Brent.. particularly given your powerful response, thank you. My experience since last writing seems to be (as Brene Brown, a researcher òf shame and vulnerability would call) a ‘vulnerability hangover’! Almost from the moment I reached out and shared my experience and thoughts, I felt the shame.. who the hell was I to write something like that? What difference did I think it would make? So I hid away, closed myself off.. just like I’d squidge myself and my duvet under my bed as a child: it was safe under there. What a fraud eh? 🙂

What also prickled, was my first public acknowledgement of self blame. That I’d been so willing to accept the invitation of others to pick up the shame of what happened and convince myself that I deserved it. After struggling with this for a while, seeking help, receiving therapy (EMDR rocks), I’ve emerged with renewed curiosity. So, I’ve been reading the posts of others on the blog, as you recommend and the thought has occurred to me: ‘what else can I do to enable movement/growth of the intention of the book & blog?’ .. other questions: Is rape an inevitability? Will the abuse of children always be present in humanity? (As it has been for thousands of years?) Can it be reliably predicted? How can the perpetrator of rape be forgiven? How does the person who was raped ‘become clean’? I believe this blog is a catalyst for these open questions and I’m grateful to be part of it. With love and gratitude, E

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We have become a society of monster makers.

Comment: Hi Amy,

I just watched your TED Talk on the Brents case. Back when I was studying for an Administration of Justice degree, I remember studying serial killer cases with curiosity at first, but they seemed to run together and became boring to me . . . turns out evil is boring. Human decency really fascinated me because it seemed rarer in media headlines (by design for ad revenue?)

However, when I studied the Carl Panzram case, I was jolted to the core. His acts were no more or less heinous than other “monsters,” but his childhood upbringing really hit me hard. We have become a society of monster makers.

Are you familiar with his case? Books and a feature film were made about it all.

Brent Brents immediately reminded me of Carl Panzram. Your involvement in the Brents case is very similar to Henry Lesser’s intervention with Panzram. He was the one prison guard who treated Panzram as a human being without forgetting for a second the evil he was capable of in his broken state.

Anyway, thanks for talking about this!
Suzanne

Time: March 18, 2018 at 3:57 pm
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at least quit thinking about revenge

Thank You.

Dear Amy, You changed my life today. I just listened to your Ted talk, “Have You Ever Met a Monster?” and I want you to know that you changed my life.

You are also helping me to forgive my father – if not to excuse him, to at least quit thinking about revenge. Thank you.

All the best,

Susan

February 7, 2018

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My trauma will be with me for the rest of my life but I’m a fighter

Amy- I watched your whole video on Have you ever met a Monster. I will be honest, at first when I started to watch it I couldn’t listen objectively. I was unable to understand from the rapist’s point of view because I usually don’t have compassion for them. When I watched your video for the second time, I watched the whole thing and my views were changed a little. You are right, we need to change the way we view monsters.

Brent Brents- I understand exactly how you feel, you feel angry and betrayed by those around you. I’m so sorry for all the trauma you went through as a young boy. It wasn’t your fault and you didn’t deserve it.

—————–

I know it’s difficult. I’m angry at the fact he got zero help..no one saw what was going. I’m not pitying him, I feel sad for his inner child…. It’s awful. In my own trauma I definitely am angry that my abuser got away with it and that the foster parent at the time chose to ignore it. But I’m so lucky to have gotten adopted into a loving and supportive family.

My trauma will be with me for the rest of my life but I’m a fighter, and I’ve made it this far.
Thank you so much for reading the comments and answering back…. Child abuse needs to be talked about more.
Sincerely,
Natasha

Time: January 28, 2018 at 7:52 pm

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what an inspiration in the woman who was able to forgive Brent

Ms. Herdy, I recently saw your Ted Talk, “Have you ever met a monster” and wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences and insights. What a story. And what an inspiration in the woman who was able to forgive Brent by seeing him as a victim as well- and having the clarity to do so in spite of her being his victim!

Thank you for all that you are doing in bringing attention to such a serious societal problem. I also want to share an interesting article with you that discusses the question you mentioned in your talk.

Lorelei

December 29, 2017

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Describe your father in 1 word. Describe your mother in 1 word.

I read your book and still follow the blog, and find the story of Brent compelling, and so incredibly sad.

I have my own history of abuse at the hands of a parent, and luckily for me, my healing was healthy and empowering. I began to realize it was him who was damaged and sick. I look in the mirror every morning and I like who I am. I don’t know what he sees when he looks in his mirror … a couple of years ago, I was at his death bed, holding his hand as he approached mortality and I asked, “How would you describe your father in 1 word?” His response, “… distant … ” Ok, interesting… “How would you describe your mother, in 1 word?” “… Vain” and my eyes began to well up. He was raised by parents who were distant and vain. Jesus Christ, what had THEY done to HIM? and the empathy and compassion I felt for him, my abuser, was overwhelming … it literally washed over me that, he was not who he was supposed to be. Someone did something to change him. I don’t relieve him of his responsibility for those things done to me and others … but I had a window into the “why”…and the timeline of cause and effect.

I forgave the man. I will never forgive the acts. I loved him but I was afraid to be near him most of my life. I second guessed every comment, every intention…and I hated that, but it wasn’t of my choosing. I am so grateful that although it took until the end, I gained even more perspective and true forgiveness.

I look at Brent and I think, he was born a beautiful perfect little being … what the hell did they think they were doing, and creating out of him???? I don’t forgive his acts, they are his to own. But it sickens me that he was changed. He was forever altered through no fault of his own. I wonder how he would answer the questions:

Describe your father in 1 word.
Describe your mother in 1 word.

-Michelle

January 19, 2018

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