Giving a TEDx talk was not on my bucket list.
But a friend sent me a link to submit a talk proposal and before I knew it, I faced the daunting task of trying to condense this story–of how covering the case of serial rapist Brent Brents changed my life–into 18 minutes.
Two days before the scheduled date of the talk, I threw out my back (I wish I could say I was bungee jumping, or ice climbing, but the truth is I was emptying a wheelbarrow full of horse manure into a compost bin), resulting in a) no sleep and b) shooting pain with every step.
So the finished product is not pretty. It’s not full of video or power point dazzle. But those 18 minutes contain some tough truths about rape, sexual assault, incest, child sexual abuse, and, most startling of all, forgiveness. I wanted to share it with you, so click on my TEDx talk here: “Have You Ever Met a Monster?”
And then let me know what you think.
Filed under The story
Tagged as Brent Brents, child sexual abuse, forgiveness, incest, monster, rape, rapist, serial rapist, sexual abuse, sexual assault, TEDx
Note from Amy: I debated posting the following excerpt of a recent letter from Brent Brents because I had such a strong negative reaction to it. Later, I re-read it and decided there is merit in posting what he had to say because it’s an example of his motivations and mindset. More on that in a moment.
As always, visitors to this website should realize that its content can be triggering. It’s not my intention to cause anyone pain; rather, I’m trying to do a small part to raise awareness about the issues of child abuse, child sexual abuse and rape that are found in the case of Brent Brents so that we can figure out how to prevent these crimes.
Now, about what he wrote: In the following excerpt, Brents is referring to a young boy he molested. The child was the son of a single mother who Brents dated brieflly, and the story is told in the book, Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, which details the devastating impact the case had on the child, his mother and the rest of their family.
So much of child sexual abuse is the tragic repetition of patterns, and this situation was a reflection of that. Abused himself as a child, Brent Brents was repeating a pattern of sexual abuse on this boy. The difference is that the boy told his mother and she reported it, so the abuse did not continue for a long period of time.
As always, the content is presented here exactly as Brents wrote it:
I have been thinking about my inability to be Non-sexual with Ian. I might Not make sense but i really thought i was giving him Something he was missing. I was good to him for the most part. But it was me who had the Need Not Ian. Hell to be honest the Kid had his shit together more than any of us.
I know i manipulated him and twisted shit in my own Mind to convince myself he wanted the sexual attention. The Sad thing is that he snuck over to my place one day to apologize for getting me into trouble. Crying Sobbing that it was his fault. I begged him to forgive me and Reassured him that i was wrong and it wasn’t his fault.
Never did i imagine things like this would be the things that Work to better me mentaly. Its taken all these years to work thru the denials. None of it feels good in the moment of realization. There is nothing for me to celabrate. No milestone markers. But i hope that somehow men who are prone to sexual violence and predatory behaviors can learn early on. Instead of spending years in tortured minds and torturing innocent people.
Filed under Brents' writings
Tagged as book, Brent Brents, Brents, child abuse, child sexual abuse, diary, Diary of a predator, diary of a predator: a memoir, memoir, predator, rape, sexual abuse
There are many studies that link child sexual abuse to that person becoming a perpetrator in later life, and Diary of a Predator: A Memoir is a perfect case study of that–Brent Brents committed crimes that were a direct reflection of the abuse he received as a child.
If you look at Jerry Sandusky’s childhood circumstances, you can see that he could very well have been a victim of child sexual abuse. When Jerry Sandusky was six–a vulnerable age–his family moved into an upstairs apartment of the Brownson House, a recreation center for troubled boys. By all accounts, thousands of troubled youth passed through that center, which included facilities for basketball, football and baseball-and which would have included locker rooms with showers (details from Jerry Sandusky’s case include him sexually abusing boys in a locker room shower).
The following is from a study by the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2001:
The risk of being a perpetrator is enhanced by prior victim experiences, doubled for incest, more so for peodophilia, and even higher for those exposed to both peodophilia and incest. This suggests that, in this selected sample, the experience of being a victim of peodophilia may have a more powerful causative influence in giving rise to the subject becoming a perpetrator than does incest, and the joint experience of being exposed to both peodophilia and incest has the most powerful effect.
This view is supported by the frequent clinical finding that the abuser’s target age-group is usually limited to the age when he was himself abused. The abusive act is a traumatic one — however cooperative the victim might appear to be — and the change from being the passive victim to the active perpetrator, making use of the mechanism of identification with the aggressor, is the way in which some victims repeatedly attempt to master the trauma. The use of psychological mechanisms, particularly splitting and denial, which enable the abuser to believe he is being benevolent when he is being abusive, are further characteristics which the victim acquires through his identification with the perpetrator.
-It sounds like that’s exactly what Jerry Sandusky did. And it’s definitely what Brent Brents did–he became a perpetrator in order to try to gain control over his feelings of helplessness, rage and victimization.
It does not excuse the horrible actions of either man, neither Brent Brents nor Jerry Sandusky. But it does help explain them.
Filed under The story
Tagged as Brent Brents, child sexual abuse, Diary of a predator, diary of a predator: a memoir, incest, Jerry Sandusky, memoir, peodophilia, perpetrator, predator, sexual abuse, victim, why did Jerry Sandusky do it?
When I first heard the commercial on the radio, I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never heard a public awareness campaign about child sexual abuse, but that’s exactly what it was, on behalf of the Denver Children’s Advocacy Center. So, bravo, DCAC. Keep it up.
The public service announcement urged listeners to know the facts about child sexual abuse, and referred back to their website, where I found some sobering stats, including:
- In the United States, 15 children are sexually abused ever hour.
- 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys are sexually abused by their 18th birthday.
- Without treatment, one-third of abused and neglected children will eventually victimize their own children.