Eleven years ago, Christan Rainey experienced an unthinkable tragedy. His entire immediate family was murdered in North Charleston. Police charged his mother’s husband. He was found unfit for trial. Today, Rainey works to save lives both on and off the clock. He’s turned his pain into purpose.
Eleven years have passed, for 32-year-old Christan Rainey the wound remains open. “September 30th 2006 my mom and my four siblings were murdered by my mom’s husband while I was away at college at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
There hasn’t been any closure, but what I’ve been trying to do is use that energy that i have to create change, which is helping me with my closure, because at the end of the day, when I can see a life changed, or I can see a life saved, to me that’s fulfilling enough,” Rainey says.
Now Christan works to save lives. He’s a firefighter for the City of North Charleston, and five years ago he became an advocate to help fight domestic violence. He created M.A.D. USA, Men Against Domestic Violence. “M.A.D. USA is basically a non profit organization that is geared toward proactive education, age appropriate proactive education for the next generation and for adults to teach them about domestic violence, dating violence and things of that nature,” Christan says. “Women have been fighting the battle, and have been taking action as victims. It seems like us as men we fail to hold up our end of the bargain, be active, understand we play a role in this also, and in order for it to stop.. especially the ranking we have in South Carolina. In order for it to stop, it actually starts with us.”
M.A.D USA works throughout the community, holding events, including an annual Stop Domestic Violence event in memory of his family, his mother Detra Rainey and four siblings. They also provide victims’ services, and work with the North Charleston Police Department, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, and other organizations with victim advocacy programs. “If I save one life in my lifetime, I’ve done my job,” Christan says. Students are a major focus of his organization.
Christan says, “We’ve been teaching the high schools throughout the state. We’ve developed some lesson plans and developing an educational curriculum now for K through 12. Over this last summer, we taught over 400 kids in the City of North Charleston in our summer camps about bullying and power control from ages 5-12 and it was a great experience.”
Christan says everyday his faith helps turn his pain into purpose. “There’s no way that I could let such a strong woman die in vain, and her name not be out there and people will know she was a fighter, and she was a great mom who raised a great son to do great things, and I feel like she fulfilled her purpose. It was hard. It’s still hard everyday. It’s just hard waking up everyday and doing good things, and knowing you will never get to hear your mom say good job, or I’m proud of you. It’s rough, but it was put on me for a reason simply because I know I can handle it, so I just keep the mission and move forward.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Tomorrow, the anniversary of his family’s death, Christan’s organization M.A.D. USA will hold its annual Stop Domestic Violence rally.
The event is in memory of his mother and his siblings. It will be held in the parking lot at the Centre Point Walmart in North Charleston from 11am until 3pm.
To make a donation to MAD USA, call 843-805-0434 or visit http://www.madusa.org.