Tag Archives: violence

I’m the only sex offender in this pod.

So yes i’m stressed out big time. I’m the only sex offender in this pod. There are 5 guys who tolerate me, the rest would like to fuck me up, Their words.

Well i promised you i’d not fight back if i could help it. But if someone comes in my cell i might have to. I will try awful hard Amy. But if its a matter of getting hurt real bad, i’ll have to protect myself. U know my faith, i’ll turn the other cheek if i can. Hell i’ll even run from the fight if i have to. 🙂

My fear is not about getting beat up for a minute or so. Its losing every thing i’ve worked for… staying off admins ” screw up ” radar. I just want to live a quiet life.

But intel hung me out to to be a target in this ” soft ” pod. Becouse i’m not only the only sex creep, or chomo as they love to refer to me as. But some of these guys still act like they are active gang members. I could check in from the check in pod. But what would that accomplish.

I’m just tired of the hate, but i didn’t give those i hurt any choice about the hate and pain i put them thru. So why bitch and whine right. So i’ll deal w/ the sick stomach, the headaches, and constant motor mouthing and U should die looks. Besides its loud in here so i dont mind spending more time in my cell than being out in the day hall.

I just hope one of these idiots doesn’t try to bully me by stealing or taking my stuff. That will lead to violence. I will not put up w/ it period. I hate bully’s…

Dont worry i’ll curl up and or run away from a fight unless its in my cell. Thats the worriesome one as far as a fight goes. Too easy to get hurt bad.

-Brent Brents

5-19-18

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I will be a weak little sissy, curl up in a ball, run, bow down, lose face, whatever it takes to avoid violence

I’m hoping i’ll move to the pod next door this week. If not i’ve come to a place of peace w/ myself. I dont like it in here, but i’ll do absolutely every thing and any thing the right way to stay out of trouble. There is no way i’ll fuck off going to pc, [protective custody] and getting myself put back in the hole for assault will absolutely not be an option this time.

I will be a weak little sissy, curl up in a ball, run, bow down, lose face, whatever it takes to avoid violence… And my shot at Pc. Just call me a bitch, or pussy, i dont care…

So joke em if they cant take a screw. I’m mister non violent, mr clean. And dont care who likes it or not…

Man i wish i could have a dog in here. But i wouldn’t want a dog to suffer prison life. To me dogs are creatures who should have the utmost freedom and space to run and play and explore in. I wouldn’t want to be a prison dog. Its bad enough we pretty much get treated like them.

-Brent Brents 5-27-18

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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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Replying to a reader: Describe your father in 1 word. Describe your mother in 1 word.

Michelle,

First of all thank U for sharing that experience w/ all of us. This must be the week where people challenge my thinking. Which i take seriously. I wish i could have found it in my heart to forgive my dad his wrongs on his death bed. Although i was not there, i know full well i had too much hate and bitterness toward him to do so.

I have struggled w/ that issue for years. Finaly being able to find some understanding and insight into him as i learn about myself and why i chose to be this way. We were both sick, scarred, and programed violently @ the hands of our parents. We both chose to be predatory instead of vulnerable.

I don’t know about him but i had chances to make the changes necessary to become a productive and compassionate individual. I chose hate and predation as my armor. I enjoyed hurting people. I was a coward just as he was. I could say it was my parents fault. Yet that would be total bullshit.

The truth is i (chose) this way of life. Although i have gained the ability to feel compassion and empathy for people. I still suffer the addiction to sexual violence. It is a shame i deal w/ daily.

So in one word how would i describe my father… ( Incapable ). Because he was controlling and manipulative right up to his death in 2004. And was incapable of change. I’m not sure if it was because he didn’t care to or that he had behaved violently and hurtfully for so long he just didn’t know how.

My mother…This one is easy. ( sick ). She was molested by her father, uncles, brothers. She was literaly used by the men in her family as a sexual apperatus. From a very young age. Then she marries my father. Horrible choice.

The woman only knew to equate love and sex as the same thing. The incest w/ me was her way of loving me. I dont really hate her for it. Although it was clearly a crime against myself. I not only enjoyed it, but i also equated this sexual behavior as love.

It was a sickness we shared. A way to love one another in his little private kingdom. I have forgiven her as well. My anger was not at what she did to me. Rather at her not working w/ me to hash it out.

To find a place of understanding between us. Where we could finaly put it all behind us and heal together and seperately. To exercise our own demons. And love one another as a mother and child should have from the beginning…

But the reality is shit happens. I made shitty choices that had absolutely nothing to do w/ the abuse i endured as a child. Broken system or not. I chose to be what i was. I am addicted to sexual violence. My brain is and has been fucked up for years.

That however is no excuse for how i chose to live my life. In a nut shell, the one word i would use to describe myself now: ( Learning ). How would i have described myself 14 years ago. ( Evil )!!!

So Michelle i hope i have provided some insight into myself, and how i see things. As for the abuse i went thru as a child. It honestly was not what made me who i was. Though it is easy to say my parents created an animal. Its simply not the case.

They are probably responsible for my sexually violent addiction. However i made the choice at around the age of 10 to be predatory. Because it gained me what they took from me. And that was my ability to control my own emotional safety and security. As well as my physical and sexual well being. I created me, i truly believe this.

Just as i am now recreating myself. Molding a compassionate and caring human being. And its not easy. But necessary.

-Brent Brents

1-24-18

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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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it takes animals to control animals

So I like to sit in the yard and think about things on a meaningful level. Years ago I would sit in prison and all I thought of were drugs, drinking, fucking prostitutes, rape,violence. You name it i bet it crossed my mind back then.I do get scared sometimes these days because someone gets smart. And like you said, i do have a smart mouth. And years ago I was pretty capable of backing it up. Now not so much. Plus another fight for me is a death sentence. I just don’t think I could do the rest of my life behind a cell door without serious mental health issues. And I am pretty sure I would choose suicide over living in a cell for what’s left of my life.

I have often likened being in prison, to an animal living in a cage. Or a zoo if you will. People come and walk by your enclosure. They don’t care for you, they have little to no compassion for you. They just want to see the animal up close, and safely away from it. Prison isn’t really “Fun”. Its not meant to be. It does what it was intended to do. (Confine you ) Punish, well you could make a case that it does have the ear marks of punishment. Truth be told, it takes animals to control animals. This isn’t meant insultingly. Think about it, what type of individual wants to work to retirement as a prison guard. There has to be some kind of disconnect in the brain. One that allows you to come to work each day and do what normal people would not. Looking at genitals one or more times a day, during strip searches. Searching cells daily. Sitting countless hours on your ass getting fat. Having to break up violent confrontations involving knives (Shanks ) in prison lingo. Fist fights. Witnessing death ( usually violent ) more often than a person should. You often see these TV programs like Lockup or Jail. What is often shown is an inth of the true realities of prison life.

-Brent Brents 9-4-16

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It is creepy some times to hear the depths of violence and hatred that is spoken

I was sitting in the yard the other day. Just watching every one and every thing. Listening to words and conversations as people passed by. Its is creepy some times to hear the depth of violence and hatred that is spoken and communicated. As I sat there I thought of the countless victims we are all responsible for. Known and unknown. All the hurt we’ve caused so many thousands of people here alone. Not to mention the hidden damage we’ve caused our families friends and other innocent people. Its a brutal reality when you get right down to the plain truth of it all. Then one has to think about the lasting effects of their hate and violence.

The children’s lives, we’ve violated them in so many ways. Sexualy, physically, Mentally. And it is a life time of violation. Sure we may only do it once. Rape one child or adult, murder someones family member, rob some person or place. These things leave a wake of damage. Often there is no one to help repair the emotional trauma.

-Brent Brents 8-25-16

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Have You Ever Met a Monster, Part IV: Our society cares more if a sexual assault victim is the right kind of victim

Brent BrentsBrents has often said that by the time he was 9, his brain was broken.

What if someone had intervened in his life early on? A teacher? A neighbor? How could no one have noticed that boy who went to school with bruises, smelling like urine because he had wet the bed the night before rather than creep down the hall to the bathroom and risk waking his father?

If you help an abused child, you might be preventing a lifetime of pain—for more than one person.

So many people live in what I call “garage houses”—where the garage is the dominant feature. They pull up to their garage at night, the door goes up, their car goes in, and the door comes down. They stay inside their house until they leave the next day. They can’t tell you the name of the family down the street. They won’t interact and they sure won’t intervene.

What if we dared to care—without hesitation, without condition?

It’s a harsh truth that our society cares more if a sexual assault victim is the right kind of victim. Remember how police told Margaret the DNA from her case would sit on a shelf for at least two months? When Brents attacked victims in a high-income neighborhood, the DNA was processed within hours.

Lady Justice might be blind, but she can sure have a champagne taste.

Margaret and I talked often while her case wound its way through the court system. During a hearing in July 2005, Brents pleaded guilty to Margaret’s attack.

Like many survivors who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Margaret was terrified of leaving her house. She had flashbacks, nightmares. She couldn’t hold down a job. Her marriage fell apart.

On the day before the hearing, Margaret asked me to deliver a message to Brents for her, and I agreed. And this was her message:

“Tell him…I forgive him.”

It’s stunning, isn’t it? How could she forgive this man who wounded her so, who nearly took everything from her?

She said, “I’m not feeling bad for the man who tried to kill me, but for the little boy who had the same thing happen to him.”

And she said, “Hating is not hard. But if I go on hating him, I will never get over it.”

Then she added, “If it was me, I would want people to try to help me or try to listen to me and not just look at me like I’m an animal or a monster.

She inspires me. If Margaret can forgive Brent Brents, we can forgive anybody.

This case had a profound effect on my life.

It taught me that we’re all connected, and turning our backs on others is really abandoning ourselves.

It made me realize that I didn’t like the journalist I had become. It was actually Brents who pointed out to me that he and I had something in common: We were both driven.

I quit that job shortly after his case ended. I will never again work in a newsroom because the desperate competition for ratings is unhealthy for me, in many ways.

And I no longer knock on a survivor’s door unless I’m invited.

I began interviewing Brents because as a journalist who has spent a lifetime reporting on sexual violence, I wanted an answer to the question, “Why?”

He began as a bug under a microscope–and that’s what I told him.

He became a lesson in humanity and compassion.

Even so-called “monsters” have things they’re afraid of.

Brents wrote me about his. He said,

“My biggest fear is that I will die (pause) without ever having done anything  good.”

That’s why I tell this story. Thank you for listening.

BRENT J. BRENTS -- At age 13

BRENT J. BRENTS — At age 13

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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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Fighting flashes of hatred and rage

Note from Amy: Apparently I set this letter from Brent Brents aside in order to post several blogs from it and then got too busy. I uncovered it today on my desk, hence the reason why it’s dated from April. So here’s the first of several excerpts to come from that letter:

So i want to share something with you that has been going on in my mind Lately. My outlook on life has so freakishly changed these last few years. For example this empathy that continues to grow inside for others and the plight of humans everywhere. Don’t get me wrong I still harbor some bitterness, and hatred toward my family (parents). And I don’t trust any man…I’m getting so sick of death and violence. Rape, Domestic Violence. all of it on TV. Read about it in newspapers. And worst of all thru war stories told by cold and brutal men who are only steps from my own cell door. And within this cell, in this head is a brain that is constantly telling itself No more violence. Fighting flashes of hatred and rage. Trying to unlearn old habits. Pushing pride and ego aside, to make room for humility.

–Brent Brents 4-30-15

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Can a sociopath change?

Ok so Can a sociopath change? I think yes. But Not completely. We are capable of remorse even empathy. But It really takes being stripped of ones inadaqusies and bitterness. Rage and hatred.

Unlike psychopaths, Sociopaths have morals and rules they follow. Me I consider friendships sacred. And I would do any thing for my true friends. I don’t think most Sociopaths love themselves very much. So friendships are important means of finding and supplying themselves with love.

Ultimately we have to learn to love ourselves. Face the uncomfortable things we often bring upon ourselves. And face the violence we’ve committed upon others. A psychopath relishes the violence and pain they cause. As Sociopaths we might be assholes. But sooner or later we experience change.

-Brent Brents 11-2-14

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