A Group of People

The Unimaginable Pain : Courtroom

In abuse, anger, arraignment, courtroom, dads, daughters, emotion, justice, life, prison, sexual abuse, shock on February 10, 2011 at 7:04 am

By @gunnarsimonsen

Words cannot describe the feelings I am having right now.

The drive home was long and silent as we drove the back roads and farmlands on this dark and gloomy day. I tried making small talk, but that wasn’t happening. The fact is, what we just experienced is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

A heaviness that you could cut with your finger hung over the courtroom as the family and friends of the family filled up the right side of the seating area. Upfront, close to where the lawyers sit, sat two men waiting to face the judge. Unbeknownst to me, another sat waiting to face the judge was amongst us, but on the left side of the room.

We sat and waited for “our” turn as cases were heard by two people that pleaded guilty to various charges. For one, he received 30 days in jail, sadly, it seemed that jail was not too foreign a land for him as they read his previous encounters with the law. His final statements focused on how he was seeking to get his life right and to live for his grandkids.

At that, they led him away in his jumpsuit with cuffs on both his hands and feet. There appeared to be no friends or family present.

Next up was a young 20 year girl who game from within the public seating area. She plead guilty to drug charges and was sentenced to 4 days in jail and 4 days on a work crew.

Now, it was our turn…

The man in chains rose and plead guilty as they read count after count after count. With each count, my tears could no longer be held back.

Would 16 years be long enough for this father of two and step father to three for what he did to his 13 year old step daughter?

One by one, starting with the mom, and then the younger brother, the older brother, the father, and the victim.

The step father just sat there reclined in his chair refusing to look at those who were speaking, except for the older brother, who kindly asked the judge if it was ok to look at him.

I saw evil today in the snarl of his face as the older brother finished addressing him. It was a look I hope never to see in my life again. It was a look that went beyond darkness and will not too quickly be erased from my memory.

As the mom spoke to her once husband… the tears continued to flood down my face. I cannot imagine what this weight of betrayal feels like.

When the father spoke to the step father… all I could think was how I could not even begin to imagine the pain, anger, or sadness he must have been feeling. At one point, he spoke of the feeling of a father and commitment we have for our children to always protect them and keep them safe. In this, he said he felt as he failed his daughter.

My God…. I cannot imagine.

He went on to say that he knew that God could forgive him, but he could not.

When the the 13 year old victim came to the bench to speak to her step father and face him for what he did to her, words could not describe the sheer strength, resilience, and heroic posture she showed. Even to the point of mentioning forgiveness as well as a desire to help other people who have experienced the same type of abuse in giving them the strength and encouragement to speak out.

How could anyone in this court room be unmoved by this display? How could anyone leave this court room today unchanged?

The mom had said in her statement that this mark would not remain on the family and that they would move on. But, for me… this is a mark that I don’t think could ever leave me.

Words cannot describe the disgust and anger I felt as the step father rose to his feet to make a final statement. He had said he hoped this helped bring the family closer together and that the father would begin to take responsibility for not being present as much as he should be.

I have to hand it to the father as a feeling of shock struck the court room with such a statement. As he rose to his feet, the armed police officers were not surprised, I imagine they are fathers, too. But, they braced themselves for what could happen next.

But, the father maintained his composure and simply left the court room.

It was a cheap shot and one the judge was not going to leave unnoticed. It was cowardly to the umph degree and as a father myself… hit me hard.

The drive home was long and silent as we drove the back roads and farmlands on this dark and gloomy day. I tried making small talk, but that wasn’t happening. The fact is, what we just experienced is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

What I saw was life at its raw core. Life at the point of inciting every known feeling I can imagine us humans are capable of, all at once.

What I saw was that when we can’t forgive… God can.

What I saw was that when we do not have the strength to move on… God does. And God will… carry us through.

What I saw was a strong young lady who has taken such darkness and has drowned it out with the Light.

What I saw was a family standing together in what would be such unimaginable pain.

What I saw was raw emotions from a father for his children in light of such darkness.

What I saw was a hope in the midst of this that I could not ever imagine seeing.

Can I explain the evil in this world? Can I explain why bad things happen to good people?


I don’t blame God for these actions. I blame the one who committed such actions.

As a father and a husband…

Words cannot describe my feelings right now. Experiencing this today makes me want to love them more, serve them more, protect them more, pray for them more, spend time with them more, laugh with them more, cry with them more, and just hold them more.

The drive home was long and silent as we drove the back roads and farmlands on this dark and gloomy day. I tried making small talk, but that wasn’t happening. The fact is, what we just experienced is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

What does one do with such an experience as today? I choose simply to hold a candle in the midst of the darkness of the world and pray that it is a beacon of hope for the distressed, the abused, the abandoned, and the least of our world.

My friends… hope starts with love.

God give me the ability to love… when my heart simply cannot.

The truth is we all need hope to guide us through whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. My prayer for you is that it will start with a love that surpasses all understanding and that someone… just someone will cross your path today and reflect such love to you.

In this, someday… may we all look back and see one set of Footprints.

God knows we need it, for sometimes we can no longer muster the strength to walk on our own.

Lord. please be with these friends of mine. Hold them close and carry them. My heart bleeds for them. Some way somehow… please let them walk in Your embrace today. Amen.


Here’s a link to an article in the local newspaper that goes into more detail of what I experienced in court the other day. Over the next few weeks, we will be working on a short video with those involved to help raise awareness and hopefully give courage to those who have or are experiencing such horror to reach out for help.

Thanks for caring… thanks for reading. Together… we can make a difference.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gunnar Simonsen, liquidcloud11. liquidcloud11 said: The Unimaginable Pain : Courtroom http://wp.me/p1jd28-6i […]

  2. I do grant writing for a nonprofit client and am a champion for this cause. Thanks for your post and link, I shared it with the founder. Good reporting… the enemy shall no longer keep their victims imprisoned.

    • Thank you so much for the reply as well as taking a moment to stop by. I must say that this experience tapped into so many emotions. To look back on it, leaves a pit in my stomach. I hope to be working with the young lady soon as she wants to do a video speaking out on her experience as well as to give courage to others that have faced or are facing the same type of abuse. People like this young lady are truly heroic to me. Thanks again for stopping by as well as for passing it on! Agreed… the enemy shall no longer keep their victims imprisoned!

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