Tag Archives: rapists

Reader: Even as meek as he tried to make himself appear, your skin would still crawl.

I remember Brent Brents. Vividly. No, I’m not one of his victims but I am one of the deputies, now former, who worked in a jail where he was held… I bought your book, a first edition, shortly after it’s release. I was profoundly impacted by Brent during the time he was in custody. He was not a large man but had a very unique presence and one that would raise the hairs on your neck. I would say I’m fairly adept at recognizing danger and comfortable defending myself, if necessary. I also had several inches on him as I stand about 5’10” and I believe he was about 5’7”, if I remember correctly. He was housed in a maximum security unit and was allowed out one hour each day to shower, exercise, or watch tv, by himself.

Even as meek as he tried to make himself appear, your skin would still crawl. There was something fundamentally broken inside of him and that intuition we all have that makes you recognize a dangerous situation would fire off regularly, even when he was locked behind a 2 inch thick metal door. Even other inmates, in maximum security, were bothered by him.

Incidentally, he was right about one thing, the other inmates did want to kill him. We had a few really bad guys in that unit during that time. There is a hierarchy in jail, as I am sure you are aware. Child molesters are on the bottom of that with rapists being one step above. Since Brents was both, and notorious, you could say his reception was not exactly warm.

-Name withheld by request

November 14, 2018

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Reader: I have come to the place, that while painful, my rape still provides me with possibility.

Hello again, I hope that today is a good day for you, with new possibilities for the coming year. Your book, that I read several months ago still resonates powerfully with me and was instrumental in finding peace and empowerment. On reflection of your words, it occurred to me to say that from my experience, the full impact of the rape/abuses I experienced are not the sole responsibility of the abusers/rapist(s).

The acts themselves were painful, yes. The ones that happened repeatedly, I got used to and developed a way of removing mind from the place I was in. But the physical injuries healed within a week. The real impact by far, what really stuck, was the shame I felt for many years. I was to blame. I should never have found myself in that position. Why couldn’t I have prevented it? While I didn’t provide consent for being raped (being blind drunk), neither did I fight for all I was worth while I was violently violated by two men I’d just met. I spent years ruminating on the moments like when the taller one said “Where do you think you’re going?” before I found myself on the bed. Why hadn’t I shouted or kicked him in the balls then?…

I took on the blame and shame from other people’s reactions (notably women, I observed) and while they were never identified or convicted, I imposed my own life sentence on myself. Letting yourself off the hook, or denying your part is one thing Brent, and I acknowledge your courage in taking on the responsibility for your role and suggest that you may be taking on more than is yours.

I read with interest, your view that “rape is worse than murder.” I have come to the place, that while painful, my rape still provides me with possibility. The story I tell about my experience is mine to tell, and I no longer feel that it ruined my life. It’s brought a new level of relatedness to others, to women, to men, to children, to you. If I were to meet those men again, I have realised just this second, as I’m writing these words, that I would thank them. If they’d murdered me, I wouldn’t be able to do that would I? If I’d succeeded in murdering myself , as I had considered and prepared for, I wouldn’t be in this place now. Today, I’m grateful, awake to being alive and I believe in that possibility for everyone, without exception.

I ‘ve recently watched a film called “The Work” which documents an extraordinary programme which takes place at Folsom State Prison. Run by the Inside Circle Foundation. The men who participated having experienced traumatic, chaotic, abusive pasts come to tell of their experiences and with great courage and vulnerability proceed to breakthrough.

I was deeply moved and my mind came to you, as I was watching. I asked myself, what would it be like if this was available for you. You may already be aware of this programme and foundation. If not, you may want to take a look…

With love and respect to you (both), Emily

January 11, 2018

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grab the faces of people who choose to look away from the abuse and exploitation of children

Dear Amy, thank you for your profound and powerful contribution. I watched your you tube video and read the blog and was profoundly moved by the courage of both yourself and Brent. Having experienced rape, it has brought me to a place of forgiveness both for the rapists, those who I’ve blamed as enablers of rape and finally myself. I have no idea where this comes from, and it may sound perverse to some, but I believe the world is a better place because Brent is in it, to shake up the status quo, to speak out about abuse, to grab the faces of people who choose to look away from the abuse and exploitation of children.

However hard a lesson he has brought to the world, a powerful lesson it is. And it is because of this that I right in concern for his welfare. Having read the last couple of entries that he’s sent to you, the tone feels different and I may be way off the mark but it may be idea to check if he has intentions of suicide. He may not have the means, so is probably safe but to ask the question all the same.. From someone who has had experiences of feeling hopelessness, and sensing it in others drives me to take action to prevent someone ending their life. There’s always possibility for a person in life (of goodness, inspiration, love etc), that possibility ends abruptly in death and the pain doesn’t end. It is merely transferred to others. Apologies if this is a waste of your time; however, I don’t apologise if I’m wrong and have misunderstood his writing – I’d rather check that live with regret. With best wishes to you and to Brent.

–Emily, Southwest England.

September 12, 2017

Hello, Emily,

I did not think you would mind–I sent the content of your message (with your first name only) to Brent Brents, and he replied.

If you want to read his response–he was grateful-it’s copy and pasted below.

I would like to post your letter and his response on the website if that’s OK with you, using your first name only and that you are from Southwest, England.

Let me know if that’s OK.

Take care,

–Amy

September 13, 2017

—————————

Hello, Amy, Absolutely, I trust your judgement…

–Emily

January 11, 2017

 

Dear Emily,

Yes in answer to your Q. I have often thought of suicide lately. Not that i would do it. Amy and others have put a life times worth of work into showing me that love and compasion are real and worth living for. And living to give. And yes suicide creates more pain than it eases. I could never bring myself to hurt those who do love and care for me in such a selfish way.

I do not get to read but little of the blog, so i am not sure how much Amy has put on there about my Manic Depression. The drugs work pretty well. It is when i am stressed that they lose some and i either freak out or get depressed. Sometimes it is quite a roller coaster of emotion. I know in my manic state Amy and my friends would often like to strangle me. 🙂 I can be a real ass, and not know it.

Right now i am dealing with where they are going to place me after get out of this six month confinement. If they put me in general population i will be hurt or even killed. So i am trying to go to protective custody. But there is a process, and no garuntee that that is where i will be placed. So i am continually stressed these days.

Fearing for my safety isn’t new to me. But the thought of not being around to love and care for, and have A, and F. as the most vital part of my exsistance chills me deeply. Its a fear i am not used to.

So Emily, no your Q is not off the mark or a waste of time. Thank you for concern. Sincerely, Brent.

September 27, 2017

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Prison is no longer about punishment. It is a business, world wide.

These days its children who are coming through the gates. Fresh faced. some already hardened little criminals. Gang members, murderers, rapists, and drug dealers, and users. Prison is no longer about punishment. It is a business, world wide. I keep hearing this statement from Inmates.  The judge sent me here that was my punishment. Not all these stupid rules we have to follow, and do what these stooped cops tell me to do.
I won’t lie people, there are purely idiotic people on each side of the divide. Stooped barely covers the extent of their choices. There is a lot of tit for tat negativity between inmates and staff. There is hatred that permeates the air in prison. I actually sit and watch all of these things happen each day. Its senility on this grand scale. My days are pretty interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I too have my share of issues. I have serious problems with authority. I am very impatient with ignorance, and ignorant people. Especially if they know what they are doing is just plain fucked up.
Prison is what you make of it. You can make it hell for yourself, or find a way to navigate your way thru the bullshit. Seeing a fight, a sexual encounter, a drug transaction, inmates so high they nod out in chow halls and day rooms. Even here in the yard. All I can say is what a world it is in prison.

-Brent Brents 9-4-16

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You should have a healthy reserve for the guy fresh out of prison

So the prison I’m in is 75% sexual offenders. And people let me be flat out honest. You should have a healthy reserve for the guy fresh out of prison. Most really don’t give a fuck about you, or any one else. Child sex offenders will find there ways to vulnerable children. Rapists will rape. Drug addicts will do unspeakable acts if they think it will get them their dope. Gang members will walk out the doors and go right back to the gangs. Shooting each other, and innocent people. Its frickin scary to just sit there and listen to the conversations, and watch the behavior.
I think about just how much alike I was to these people. Oh don’t get me wrong, if I were to stop doing what I do each day. I would still be the same as they are. In fact the only thing that separates me from their behavior, is my faith. My belief in our lord Jesus Christ. And the twelve steps of NA. And my knowing I can never ever stop living the life style I live now.
Its truly amazing how much clarity one can achieve when they put forth the effort to become a better human being. Exercising integrity without reservation in every thing you do. Be humble no matter what. Be truthful in all your affairs. Be honest and critical of yourself. Most of all love genuinely.
So I realize I will always be sexualy deviant in my thinking. Maybe not to the extant I was. But I still sometimes have rape fantasies. Yet I really don’t think about sex to often. When I get pissed off, I sometimes have the fantacies or thoughts about raping or hurting the person I am mad at.
So I’ve come a long way from the person I was twelve years ago. I really believe in the thought that true acceptance of self, only comes with a very thurough and honest willingness to look at ones self and not hold any thing back.

-Brent Brents 8-25-16

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Have You Ever Met a Monster, Part III: What are we doing wrong as a culture that we continue to produce rapists?

It turned out that Brents had followed my work. A few months before he was released from prison I had finished co-authoring an investigation into how the military mishandles domestic violence and sexual assault. It resonated with him, not because he was a perpetrator, but because the angry man-child within him, considered himself a victim.

Records and accounts from family members indicate that Brents’ father was a violent, sadistic man. The two children from his second marriage were removed from the home because of his abuse, and Brents and his brother, the product of his father’s third marriage, were also removed from the home, although for unknown reasons, Brent was returned.

Brent BrentsThis is Brent’s first grade picture. His father had been raping him for three years by then.  A few weeks after this next picture was taken,

Brent Brents

BRENT J. BRENTS — At age 13

when Brent was 12, his father beat him so badly that Brent suffered what medical records described as a left orbital blowout fracture—his left eye socket was broken.  He’s had seizures ever since. I will spare you the details of the sexual torture he endured. He said his father told him that he himself had been beaten and sexually abused as a child by his father, Brent’s grandfather.

And so the pattern repeated. Pain, degradation, shame. Brent Brents did to others what had been done to him as a boy, and while he was still a boy, like many victims, he blamed himself. He once wrote, “I can’t remember much about when I was real young except fear and shame and lack of courage.”

Shame is an enormous trigger of violence. Brents told me that after that detective said to him, Turn yourself in you little punk, he, Brents, worked himself into a rage. Then he went on his final horrifying crime spree.

I’m not saying these factors are an excuse for the violence Brents inflicted upon others. He made choices.  He absolutely deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. But knowing what happened to him helps explain why someone like Brents committed such violence with a lack of empathy–that his brain was predisposed toward it, and the abuse inflicted on him was his model.

It’s human nature to want to distance yourself from someone like him. Label him as a “monster,” dismiss him as evil, because we don’t want to have anything in common with such a monster–it could mean we, too, are capable of monstrous things.

It also makes it too easy. When we put rapists in the category of “monster” it may make us feel safer today but it’s more dangerous for tomorrow. Because then we won’t believe that the “monster” can be a neighbor, a good friend, a coworker. That enables them to hide in plain sight.

The dominant theme of how to prevent sexual assault today is cloaked in helpful advice, like don’t walk alone, don’t drink, don’t put yourself at risk—and the message, primarily to women, is, Don’t. Get. Raped.

How about we turn the spotlight to a different population and say, Don’t. Rape. And then take it one step further and ask, what are we doing wrong as a culture that we continue to produce rapists? Because whether it’s the ex-convict who attacks a stranger, the college boy who rapes his girlfriend or the celebrity who drugs and assaults his victims—they’re all choosing to exert their anger, power and control over someone else. With that choice, they are all the same, and they all leave pain in their wake.

I’ve interviewed more than fifty survivors of campus sexual assault in the past two years alone and the details I learn about their perpetrators paint a picture of SO MANY young men being deliberately predatory. They isolate their intended victim, ply them with alcohol or drugs, lock doors, ignore tears, ignore pleas to stop or ignore the fact their victim is limp with fear or is unconscious.

Ten years ago, Brent Brents was sentenced to 1,509 years. Today all over this country we are seeing new generations of serial rapists. Why is this still happening?

Why do we continue to reinforce the message to boys and young men that their worth is linked to their ability to dominate?

What if we prized compassion more than power?

When they’re little, we tell our children to play nicely in the sandbox.

As they get older, we say, don’t get in fights on the playground. Take a breath, count to ten, walk away.

Then they get even older and we teach them about the biological aspects of sex—health and reproduction.

What if we evolved those conversations with our youth, and teach them how feeling shame, feeling powerless or feeling angry–all of which cover up hurt and rejection—COULD cause them to want to dominate someone else?

And that they can learn to recognize triggers and not act upon them.

At least start that conversation.

And then speak up if you witness predatory behavior—and you’ll know it when you see it. Don’t make excuses.  Don’t look away. Don’t cover it up.

And because sexual violence happens on a continuum—escalating from verbal harassment to physical attacks–Speak up when you hear or read a joke about sexual assault, or victimization. It’s not funny, it’s not sexy. It’s dangerous.

If someone confides in you they’ve been assaulted, believe them–false reporting is extremely rare, so yes, believe them. Listen to them without judgment. Help them find resources, and then support whatever they decide to do.

For perpetrators– Brents told me that group counseling for sexual offenders in prison does not work. For an inmate to even be seen going to sex offender group risks their safety, and once there, they don’t want to be seen as vulnerable. It’s hard to change when you’re living in fear. And if we really do want to help them try to change, let’s offer more of the respect and compassion that can be felt with one-on-one, focused attention—something a damaged person desperately needs.

Instead of building more prisons and focusing only on punishing the perpetrators, why don’t we try to prevent them?

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Jameis apologize. Your victim deserves that

Note from Amy: While I was the investigative producer on the documentary “The Hunting Ground,” which features the Jameis Winston case, I had nothing to do with Brent Brents making the below statement, which he sent on March 31–before Erica Kinsman’s attorneys filed suit against Jameis Winston on her behalf. What is posted below is entirely the opinion of Brent Brents. As with all his writing, I did not censor or copy edit it:

Some of you will see Jameis Winston get drafted into the NFL soon. Most likely #1 overall for 100 million dollars Plus. With 50 to 55 million Garunteed.

This article (he enclosed a clipping of this column by Christine Brennan, USA Today) is a step in the right direction. But far short of the punishment he truly deserves. I can say with a whole heart, that you Jameis Winston are a Rapist. You got lucky that campus police and city police Royaly screwed the pooch on the investigation and victims allegations.

Your vulgarity at the campus directed towards the survivor of your criminal behavior, your track record of dumassed behaviors, don’t lend any credit to your reputation of Mr. Innocent.

I’ve watched your Interviews, and read plenty to judge you. God says we shouldn’t judge others. But hey let’s be real. And you and most any right thinking human beings know in your hearts the truth. Guilty!!! I have a closer Knowledge so i know more than most. But There are things that make 1 plus 1= 2.

99.99 % of sexual assault victims tell the truth in my opinion. I could be wrong. But i don’t buy that you are that .1 % of that not guilty.

So Winston as you embark on the next phase of your young life. Remember that many young people are going to Look up to you and follow your lead. Your going to be a role model for young people everywhere. Your an exceptional football player. So become an exceptional man. It may seem truly hypocritical, but i feel you should become the biggest advocate for anti Rape and domestic violence causes.

When you lose the lawsuit that is surely coming, pay it. Don’t be a punk ass Kid. And Jameis apologize. Your victim deserves that if nothing else. How you do that will be up to you. You’ll have a team of lawyers, an agent even a teams front office all saying don’t do it. Kid if you have a good heart do the right.

Who am i you ask, to judge you and write this letter? I am a serial rapist who’s 33 years in lockup have kept him around Rapists of all kinds. So I know you. Get your shit together Kid.

B. Brents 3-31-15

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