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Back in September, Aaron shared the first part of his story of hope on the Joyful Heart Blog. In it, he said, "Hope is essential to life, especially for those who are forced (or choose) to deal with painful experiences from our past," Taking inspiration and encouragement from his faith, Aaron made it through. Today, he continues with the second part of his story.
One of my greatest encouragements came from Job. Upon hearing the news that in one day he lost all of his children and all of his livestock, which was his source of income, he first response was overwhelming grief that caused him to collapse to the ground and then in gut wrenching agony he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised" (Job 1:21).
After already being delayed yet another time, the trial date was pushed back one more time to March of 2006, a year-and-a-half from the time this all began. We were told by our lawyer that in situations like this where the evidence against someone was overwhelming, the defense's only chance is to delay as long as possible in the hope that our desire for to end our suffering and to not endure giving painful testimony in trial that we would give in and offer them a plea deal or even drop the charges all together. Chris, the abuser, continued to declare his innocence until a week before the trial date. I was informed that his lawyer had called and was now asking for a plea deal, "Our client will plead 'guilty' if you lower your charges against him from 10 counts to 4." This offer was presented to each of us separately—the two boys and their parents and myself. When I heard this news I was angry.
I asked the detective, "Wait, but isn't the evidence that we have accumulated against him overwhelming? I mean if this did actually go to trial isn't it pretty much a guaranteed loss for him?" She confirmed this statement and agreed that would almost definitely be what would happen.
"Then no. No way will make a deal."
An hour later I received another call. "They are willing to plead guilty to 6 out of 10 charges. The other family wants to do it, but they won't do it unless you are on board."
I knew that the other family had endured even greater pain than I had. Although this abuse had happened to me and their oldest brother years earlier when we were 13, the youngest brother was currently that age. The very recent abuse he suffered was the reason that their family went to the police. I had also learned that since this all started, the youngest brother was not doing well at all. He had even had dropped out of school. I knew they ready to for it to be over and so was I.
"I can't do it. He has intentionally delayed this day for over a year in hopes that we would quit. He knows what he has done to us and that the evidence against him is overwhelming. Yet he has continued to swear his innocence. Even now he is not admitting guilt because he feels that what he has done is wrong. If he did he would accept the consequences of his actions and plead guilty as charged. I know this has been hard on the other family but please tell them for me to not give up hope. This is almost over. Chris will have to plead 'guilty as charged' or we will go to trial."
A little while later I received the most relieving phone call of my life.
"Aaron, it's over. He is going to plead 'guilty as charged.'"
Many times during those months when my hope of closure was ripped from my hands and I felt that I could endure no more I would speak aloud to God and to myself, "My life is in shambles, full of pain, suffering and heartache, but...but...I will...choose...to trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice even in the midst of my suffering because you have saved my life from eternal suffering and I know that you are good. Despite everything I am going through you are good and I trust you."
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." --from Hebrews 12:1-3 New American Standard Bible.
Aaron Kesseler was born in 1986, married the love of his life in 2010 and is currently working for his step-father's commercial heating business in Seattle, WA. After high school he attended Northwest University in Kirkland for two years. Aaron has volunteered as a camp counselor for five years with the Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp as well as three years with Royal Family Kids Camp, a summer camp for the most abused and neglected children in the area.
The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives. 1in6's mission also includes serving family members, friends, and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.
The views expressed above are not necessarily those of the Joyful Heart Foundation or 1in6.