After his wife of 22 years was raped in her hotel room in 2013, Jeff and Jennifer Christie did what society often fights against.
His wife was raped and they kept the baby.
In a recent opinion piece published on his blog, savethe1.blogspot.com, Jeff opened up about being a man who has the right to speak into the pro-life movement because he’s lived the circumstance proposed by the opposition.
Many pro-choice activists are quick to argue that women who are victims of rape and incest should have the right to an abortion. Jeff knows better than anyone that you can’t speak into said legislation unless you’re an unfortunate soul who’s lived it.
“I’ve read the comments. I’ve heard the opinions. I agree that you don’t know what you’ll think or feel in such a situation unless it happens to you,” Jeff Christie wrote. “That’s a terrible, stark reality and one I live with. I know that I can’t take away the trauma that my wife went through no matter how much I try.”
Jeff’s wife Jennifer was traveling for a business trip in 2013, when the couple’s lives changed forever.
“I like to think I’m usually more aware of my surroundings, but it was so snowy and windy that I wouldn’t have heard his footsteps even if he had he been stomping,” she wrote in a 2014 post on the couple’s blog. “It happened so fast. I got the door open, turned around to close it, and he was there—a huge man. My first instinct wasn’t fear, just confusion. In an instant, he punched me in the face. I don’t remember being dragged from the room, but I was found in the stairwell. I don’t know why—maybe I was trying to go for help.”
A rape kit performed following the attack showed no trace of HIV, STD’s or other STI’s. But Jennifer’s rapist did leave one thing with her: a child.
The Christies, happily married for 22 years with four children, had a decision to make. That child was a gift from God, and no amount of pain or evil could take away the inherent blessing of life.
“Without discussion we knew we’d honor God and our beliefs and protect this little soul from harm.”
Despite the horror and evil that left his wife traumatized, Jeff says both he and Jennifer knew that the pain of this violence would haunt her every single day—regardless of whether they kept their baby or not.
“I also recognized that our son had nothing to do with the horror she went through. I knew she would never forget what was done to her, regardless of whether he existed or not. It’s ignorant arrogance that brings about comments like ‘With a child, a victim of rape has to live with that reminder every day of what that monster did to her.’ She doesn’t need a reminder. That kind of violation is forever imprinted in her memory.”
Jeff explains that their son gave Jennifer hope. Amidst such unimaginable evil, she found purpose in her pain, and it was further confirmation that this precious life was still a child of God whom he’d entrusted them with.
Just as his wife found healing in the conception of their son, Jeff too began to heal. Quoting Isaiah 61:3, he says his son was a chance at redemption.
“He heals. He teaches. He encourages us. He forces us to focus on something outside of ourselves. He is an opportunity for us as parents to bring another loving, compassionate soul into the world. He is a blank slate, and the wonderful and humbling burden for his impact on the world is on us.”
Jeff includes a message to women who have turned to abortion after rape, assuring that he and Jennifer cast no judgment, and understand “more than most” the decision victims are faced with in wake of such trauma. For them, abortion just simply wasn’t an option.
“All we offer is the knowledge that God forgives and allows us to learn. It’s the beauty of human experience that we can continue to make changes throughout our lives. He can make us new. All we have to do is ask.”
He also encourages other victims who find themselves facing a choice, stressing that there are options, and there are people who are ready and waiting to provide support.
“I didn’t become pregnant after rape…but my wife did,” Jeff closes his piece. “He is a gift that helped us both recover.”