Note from Amy: For the first time, Brent Brents was recently able to read the book I wrote about covering his case, Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, which includes the correspondence between us leading up to his trial and immediately after, in which he told me about his crimes and his motivations for committing them. That correspondence, which was often painful for me to read, is what he’s referring to here:
Watching you suffer thru my hate and anguish realy tears at my heart. I think that had i realy understood just how deeply you were hurt by alot of that stuff, i would have held back and that would have led to B.S.
So i am glad you held alot of your feelings back. Because i realy never meant for you to hurt so. But it helped me.
I cried thru much of the book. Tears of anguish at the wasted and destroyed lives. And tears of joy at all the accomplishments…
I’ve finaly started a good life. It’s full of love, compasion and even empathy. I still don’t like many people. Mostly because most people I come in contact with are full of shit. Or have some screwed up motive for trying to befriend myself and others.
So yeah the book is a stark reminder of just how vulnerable i was and still am in ways. Plus a scary reminder of the hate and rage i am capable of having and storing up, and venting blindly.
-Brent Brents 1-20-16
Note from Amy: For the first time, Brent Brents was able to read the book I wrote about covering his case, Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, which includes the correspondence between us leading up to his trial and immediately after. It’s what he’s referring to here.
Our letters well, i obviously was in a state of childhood mentaly most of that first year. I see that now. As i read i was sad for the child, but angry at the man and rightly so. He was evil and scary as hell. I look back at myself and think how the hell do i forgive that person. Much less anyone else forgiving me.
-Brent Brents 1-20-16
My name is Marc Rich and I am a professor at California State University, Long Beach. I am also a rape prevention educator. While visiting the Boulder Book Store I picked up a copy of Diary of a Predator: A Memoir. I just wanted to sincerely thank you for writing this poignant, powerful book (hard to read, hard to put down) and for your ongoing work to fight predatory behavior with civilians and in the military. Your book remains one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever read–and one of the most important. I actually use a quote from Diary during our rape prevention program to help students understand the distinction between power arousal (predatory) and sexual arousal:
“Sex has little to do with it. It’s the control, the domination, the fear, the hurt, the power” (Brent Brents, cited in Diary of a Predator. Brents was sentenced to over 1,000 years for rape and torture).
So, despite his criminal record, Brent’s honesty and your willingness to speak with him is helping us prevent sexual assault.
Marc D. Rich, Ph.D.
Professor; Executive Director, interACT
Note from Amy: The following message is testament that the book Diary of a Predator: A Memoir has a profound effect on survivors:
I am moved by your work. No, not by your work as a writer – but the amount of inner work you’ve done to expand your compassion to include the suffering human beings within all the victims of rape, perpetrator included.
I once was a victim of rape. I’m no longer a victim because I was able to find compassion for my perpetrator. I believe it literally dissolved the toxic cells within my body to allow a new space, or perhaps, a renewed space to exist.
It’s interesting to me that so much is put upon the entity “forgiveness”. It always felt somehow abstract, like a word created by man, but allusive to behold in my body. Compassion though has true relevance, true power.
I could go on and on. I’ll just stop here by saying, thank you for your work that you put into this world: this truly panoramic embracing of humanity. I feel bigger and brighter and wider by the experience. You are giving all of us this opportunity.
Note from Amy: The following comment was sent to this Diary of a Predator website after the writer finished the book Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, last month:
Comment: It’s really annoying to see that some people aren’t getting the point of all this research. But then I think, not everyone can understand each other in the real world anyways. For example; when artists feel things, no matter how extreme, they know & have an “outlet.” They express emotion through personal passion in creativity. People who don’t possess such talents either don’t understand or choose not to understand.
I’m not saying that Brents is an artist, but I am saying that with every action in crime that he took, I can see him looking at his own reflection. I’m sad for what happens to everyone in their own personal experience with any type of abuse. And before anyone passes judgement on me, let me just say I’m still to this day sad & angry & hurt & pissed off because I know what abuse tastes like. I say taste because it hits closer to home. If I say feel, it seems too sentimental & sad, but if I say taste, people generally get the idea; once you put something in your mouth you know within SECONDS of whether you like it or not. You never go undecided. There’s no maybes once something hits your tongue. It’s either good, bad, happy or mad.
I was molested several times by several people throughout my life. And it was a range between family friends, friends & family. I was also abused by family members. Isn’t that crazy. Luckily I was born a “natural” (or whatever society considers me as a “natural”) artist so I knew & still know how to get my horrifyingly gross & ugly entities out in a more appropriate manner (or at least what society considers to be appropriate).
Anyways, my point is that it is amazing to see people’s comments & see how they don’t understand this kind of research, but it amazes me even more to see that the people who have had similar experiences as Brents & who, like me, actually “get it,” aren’t going crazy in their own skin (sometimes) or at least expressing or saying that they do go crazy. I understand the level of severity fluctuates upon each individuals own experience with abuse, but I’m just asking. I’ve gone through my own definition of hell & therapists too, but I think I turned out ok. If I was any less expressive in my artwork history, I think I probably would have gone a little off the charts. Maybe at least once. But I’ve kept my composure. I’m just wondering how you guys keep yours.
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.
Note from Amy:
A book club in Iowa recently read Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, and then reached out to me through this Diary of a Predator website to see if I would answer questions by phone during their book discussion. I did, and found them to be a very thoughtful and engaged group of women. Shortly afterward, one of them sent me this message:
Thank you, Amy, for the phone conversation with our book club. Thank you for writing Brent’s story. It was hard to read, but everyone should read it and try to understand what child abuse is doing to our society. You wrote so well that we all can gain knowledge and have hope that it will make a difference. Thank you.