Note from Amy: I recently received an email from a visitor to this Diary of a Predator website who saw the Brent Brents story done by Paula Zahn’s Investigation Discovery show. I’m including an excerpt of the letter here, and it can be found in its entirety on the Reader Feedback page of this website.
Amy – Welcome to the ugly, vicious underbelly of conservatism… I saw the episode with Paula Zahn and fervently SUPPORT you . I’m a (retired/disabled) attorney and SURVIVOR of LT sexual abuse. IMO, we have no alternative. We must make an effort to discover how predators become predators. There is a lot of phony sympathy toward victims of child abuse. I say phony since there is a complete disconnect when they become adults who had horrible childhoods. (Consider Aileen Wuornos). How does the attempt to understand the evolution of a predator become the effort to excuse what they do? The same dysfunctional, black and white thinking was at work when people were excoriated for asking about the “why” of 9/11.
Note from Amy: The following comments were sent to this Diary of a Predator website on May 30 by a viewer who watched the Paula Zahn episode on Investigation Discovery detailing the case of convicted serial rapist Brent Brents. It’s always heartening to me when people understand the importance of “why.” It’s the reason I continue this work.
Here are the comments:
Hello Amy, I applaud your efforts to understand what creates sexual abusers. As someone who has known several victims of sexual abuse I feel that it is very important to understand the psychological causes of the compulsion to violently sexually dominate others. I hope that I can one day contribute as much to society as you have…
I first saw your story on Paula Zahn and I was impressed with your commitment to presenting both sides of the story, no matter how repugnant Brent Brents actions were.
Note from Amy: I got a very thoughtful email last year from a woman who is working on her master’s in counseling psychology. She had seen me on the Paula Zahn show on Investigation Discovery about the Brent Brents’ case, and wrote to offer her support of my work.
Now she’s doing some work of her own, through an excellent blog called The Feminist Rag–and I offer praise of it not just because she recently wrote a very nice blog about my work on Brents, but because she has insightful and interesting things to say. I began reading James Gilligan’s book Violence on her recommendation, and have learned so much from it. That book articulates so well the underlying causes of violence in our culture and why conventional solutions have failed to stem its tide.
Since the author of The Feminist Rag doesn’t give her name on her website, I won’t reveal it here. Below is an excerpt of what she wrote about her reactions to Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, in addition to some very kind things about my ongoing work which were gratifying to hear.
From The Feminist Rag:
Reading Amy’s book is not for the light-hearted; it took me on an INTENSE emotional roller coaster that had me wrestling with all kinds of conflicting feelings like disgust, terror, empathy and despair as I learned of Brent’s childhood, which was filled with unspeakable child abuse which, unsurprisingly and all too commonly, resulted in a full blown sadistic, out of control, violent, sociopathic man.
Alongside my disgust, despair, and terror, I also found myself feeling empathy for Brent because little tortured boys don’t just disappear, they slowly morph into violent adult men. This is not to say that ALL abused boys turn into sadistic men, but some do, it’s simply how life works — everyone copes differently with the inner hell such a childhood creates. Read more