Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My son was never a "rapist's baby" or a "product of rape" -- he's my child, by Jennifer Christie

The technical term is "survivors guilt".  It doesn't sound especially technical, but I give it full points for accuracy.  It could also be called "throw up and cry a lot" . . .  because that's what
I did when I heard about the next victim during phone call from an FBI agent who told me 
that the DNA collected during my rape kit three years earlier had returned a match.

The woman had been brutally raped and beaten to death. I thought back to the hotel housekeeper who found me unconscious in the stairwell, badly beaten and barely clothed. We always believed her presence saved my life -- that my rapist never intended to leave me alive.

The FBI agent told me the murdered woman also had red hair -- like me.  I'm not sure that last detail was one I was supposed to know, but once it was uttered it dangled in the air before me like a key to Pandora's box.  If I opened it, I could potentially drown in a world of pain, in gut-wrenching questions:  Did anyone call her their "Strawberry"?  Was she around children who would play with her hair and ask her to sing "Part of your world"?  

The FBI had not even contacted next of kin yet because she was a university foreign exchange student in Ohio. Would her family be told about me?  Would they hate me for not being able to stop him, and for surviving?  In that moment, I hated me for not being able to stop him. 

I clung to this: There was no record of his DNA when I was attacked, and now there was.  I did that. That had to count for something. . . .  Didn't it?  Not enough, but something. It helped me to cope. 

But then they found the next woman -- their third redhead. My life suddenly felt like a poorly scripted made-for-TV movie. 

"Find him", I whispered on the phone. "Just stop him." 
"We'll get him."  They assured me of this. They didn't. But he WAS eventually "got.".

Somehow they now had a lead, and DNA evidence to make an arrest. But the rapist was a native American, so I was told that would be a delay because local law enforcement had to work with tribal police to find this man on his reservation, and federal laws applied where they couldn't just go and make an arrest.  

Then I received the call -- several states away, the rapist/murderer was stabbed to death by a fellow tribe member whose 13 year old sister had been raped nearly a decade earlier by this monster.  Unable to live with the stigma and the pain, she took her life one year after the attack.

In ten years, her brother never gave up seeking justice for his sister. I wish I could shake his hand -- not that I support vigilantism, but because my family and I have endured much of the same pain. I can't ever reach out to him or his family though.  My case has been closed and with that ends any connection to the rest of the story.  I've done an Internet search with the sketchy details I had been given.  The FBI won't provide me anything further. 

I don't know specifically what tribe the rapist was from. I have no idea what tribe my son --who was conceived when I was raped -- has blood ties to.  I still wonder if I may be able to find out one day.  I think it's information my son will probably want to have. 

I also don't know the real name of my attacker -- only the alias he was using at the time.  I don't know the identities of the other victims.  I won't know how many women there were in total, or if cold cases will be solved.  I also won't ever know if this man's death helps to bring any peace to the families of the two women sIain.  I won't know the end to everyone's story. I only know the end to this chapter of mine. 

As far as that goes?  Hearing that he was gone, I exhaled a breath I didn't know I'd been holding -- and three years is a long time to hold your breath.  I felt such a weight lift from my chest that I thought I might float away. The relief was dizzying. It still is.
I'm safe.  My son is safe. I'll never have to face my worst nightmare in court or recount, in excruciating detail, everything he did . . . things I've learned from my doctors, things I've tried so hard to forget. 

Equally as important -- and this is going to be hard for some people to understand -- somehow with him gone and no longer a threat, he becomes someone I can begin to forgive, someone I have to forgive.  When he was at large, still tearing apart lives, I justified holding onto anger, and even hatred.  That hurts me though.  It damages my spirit.  I believe God tells us to forgive for several reasons -- one being the freedom it gives us.  And I want to be set free. 

So I'm letting that happen.  For me.  For my family.  For my God.  I'm letting it happen. 

Forgiveness isn't a "once and done" thing -- rarely, if ever.  I imagine this is going to be something I'll need to actively forgive, repeatedly, daily, probably several times a day, for the rest of my life.  That's okay.  There is much to be learned in the process. 

I guess I'm choosing a path of forgiveness. That's the only thing that makes my story one of "choice" though. It's a story about my son -- about his life, which is a life he never asked for.
You might wonder, now knowing the depth and breadth of the man's evil, how it changes the way I feel about my little boy.  It doesn't.  My son was never a "rapist's baby" or a "product of rape".  He's my child.  He's my husband's child.. He's a child of God. 

Why should he bear the anger and vitriol intended for his biological "father"? And to the point of death?  We hold ourselves up as a great civilized society yet tear apart our most vulnerable and innocent when they're inconvenient or evoke bad memories. 

Some people read my story and want to hold me up as an example of a good person. It's a kind thought, but I'm not a good person because I kept my baby.  I've been called amazing. . . . Amazing?  Think about that for a moment.  I take into consideration the writer's heart when commenting and I'm blessed by every encouraging word, but I ask you to think about that one.  I'm an "amazing woman" because I love my son?!  How offended would you be if I applauded you for loving your child?  I don't see my baby any differently than you see yours. 

I'm a deeply flawed human being, not too different from most.  I became pregnant.  I had a child. That's really all there is to it. 

I recently read a comment under one of my articles which simply asked "Why is this a story?"  Exactly -- it shouldn't be!  In a better world, it wouldn't be.  I'll keep telling my story until it isn't.

BIO:  Jennifer Christie is a wife, mother of 5, pro-life blogger and pro-life speaker for Save The 1.  She's written two prior articles for us:   Raped While on a Business Trip – My Husband and I Chose Life! and  Raped, Married and Pregnant:  When People Said We Shouldn’t Have You, We Loved You Louder,, and her husband Jeff wrote this article for Save The 1: My Wife and I Both Saw This Baby As Something Beautiful Coming From Such Evil.

See 3-minute video where Jennifer shares her pregnant by rape story while signing it in ASL:


Anonymous said...

I would like to encourage you in your search for information about your son's heritage. He deserves to know which tribe he comes from.

If you have a general idea of the area, it may prove to be enough to go off of. Due to historical abuses, it is very important to the tribes that native children be able to know their identity. It is their birthright.

Keep in mind though, that a reservation is a very small community. If you make inquiries, you might very well be talking to a relative or friend of either the rapist or his victim which could understandably complicate your inquiry.

I hope that when you are ready to look for answers that you find peace and joy.

Mary's Child Mariann said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I was blessed to hear you speak this past weekend at Bringing America Back to Life. We don't watch television [haven't for all 27 years of married life], but I'm certain Hollywood could never touch the violence and torture you spoke of that, I believe, needs to be heard. I will share your story with my precious daughter and her friends this week when I visit.

You need not post this, but I also want to tell you that my wonderful husband found out from his dying Mother that he was adopted. He was middle to late 40s at the time. When she shared the story, she apologized for not having told him sooner. His Dad [who had died about 3 years earlier] had said that my husband never needed to know, and she honored that. His response to his Mom was to take her in his arms, look her in the eye, and say something like, "Mama, you and Papa are my Mother and Father. I am grateful for my Mother giving birth to me and giving me up for adoption to you and Papa. I love you, Mama." That was it. She gave him the "paper" signed by his Mother and Father, with an "X" by his birth Mother's name [she could not write]. That was that. We give thanks to God for his parents who loved him just as much if not more than any parents, and we give Him thanks for his birth Mother and Father and pray for them as well [whoever and wherever they are]. Your son, is your son and your husband is his Father. The love and nurturing you provide will be the man he becomes some day.

Again, many thanks to you and may God bless you and protect you through your next surgery.

mom26 said...

May God continue to richly bless you and your entire family. May He completely heal you. It is refreshing to hear your story, a story of love. Even though evil happened, the light shines through and it is the light and truth of the Lord. Forgiveness is a healing balm. Jayne

Jennifer Christie said...

I appreciate the advice and encouragement. Truly. Thank you.

Jennifer Christie said...

It is, indeed. Beautifully healing. 🕊️

Jennifer Christie said...

I'm sorry, I don't know how to edit part of a post. Thank you for this though. All of it.
God bless you as well. 💕