December 11, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – A mother who became pregnant after being violently raped has said that her son brought healing to their family in their darkest time.
US speaker Jennifer Christie was speaking with her husband Jeff at the March For Life in Valetta on Sunday, organised by Life Network Foundation Malta.
Hope after appalling attack
Jennifer recounted how, while working away from home, she was violently assaulted on the way back to her hotel room. The attack left her with broken fingers and ribs, and the internal injuries were so severe she needed six major surgeries. She also suffered a bleed on the brain – which means she now has epilepsy. Six weeks later, she found out she was pregnant.
Jennifer had been living in an “unrecognisable world” of “darkness and pain”, but when she saw the baby's heartbeat on the ultrasound, “for the first time since I had been raped, I felt that life inside me again…that little flicker on the screen was to me hope and joy and light.”
Her husband Jeff was immediately supportive of her need to give birth to the baby, telling her: “this is a gift. This baby is something beautiful out of something so terrible and so painful.”
The Christies' testimony challenged the assumptions usually made about women who conceive babies through rape. Jennifer said: “People will tell you that a raped woman who conceives will feel rage and anger and disgust towards her baby, and I've spoken to hundreds and hundreds of women, and that is just not true.” When Jeff is asked how he can bring up a “rapist's baby” as his own, he says: “My answer is, I don't know what it's like to raise a rapist's child. Because I'm raising our child, and he's been our child from the beginning.”
One of the main reasons people advise abortion for women in this awful situation is that the baby will be a reminder of the attack, and of the rapist. However, Jennifer says that no woman who has been raped is going to forget it, whether she has the baby or not. “When people ask me if he is a reminder, I tell them honestly…he is a reminder that good can come from evil, every time. He is a reminder that love is always stronger than hate. He is a reminder that love wins. He is a reminder that who we become as human beings is not determined by how we start.”
“We loved you louder.”
She said that when her son is older, they will tell him that he brought healing to the family. “We're going to tell him that there were all these people screaming at us that you should not be here, that you are a child from rape, that you do not deserve to be here. And those voices were loud, but we loved you louder.”
Speaking to press, Jennifer said that she was not there to judge women, but to tell those who suffer in the same way she did that “the path to healing and wholeness is not found through more violence and trauma.”
The large crowd gathered outside Parliament to hear the Christies included former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. Life Network Foundation chairperson Miriam Sciberas said that the March was an ideal opportunity to let politicians know that society wanted to protect the life of the unborn, and that life started from conception. The powerful testimony of Jennifer and Jeff Christie is sure to inspire pro-lifers in Malta and across the world.
Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.