I am not a fan of reality TV. I don’t watch 19 Kids and Counting. I don’t like celebrity gossip. And I definitely don’t like writing about these things on my blog. However, what I do like is voicing my opinion on issues I find important, especially if those issues include children. I just recently found out about Josh Duggar’s molestation records and I can’t help but feel sad about the whole situation. I feel sorry for the victims who were victimized then and now. I feel sorry for the parents who have absolutely no clue what child molestation is and the severity of it. I feel bad for the other children in the house who are raised in such an indoctrinated environment. And most importantly I feel sad for us, Americans, who have accepted such behavior as normal and who rally behind this family and behind the Christian card.
You might not like the Duggars and you might hate talking about celebrities but I feel its important for ALL of us to talk about this. Not only its child molestation (and EVERYONE should care about crimes against children) but this family is a big influence in politics. They aren’t just some rednecks with 19 kids and a show on TLC. The Duggars have built an empire by showcasing their family on reality TV. And they have used that empire to evangelize and to lobby against behavior that doesn’t “fit” their moral codes, including lobbying against LGBT rights, claiming that homosexuals are child molesters and a threat to our children. They have also inserted themselves into our politics and government. JimBob has served in the Arkansas House of Representatives and was the vice chair of the House Corrections and Criminal Law Subcommittee. Josh Duggar up until a few weeks ago was the Executive Director of the Family Research Council, a highly conservative group who lobbies against gay marriage and rights, divorce and abortion.
This is a major influential family. And this child molestation scandal is just the top of the iceberg of the Christian Hypocrisy that runs our country.
For some of you who don’t know, the Duggars gave an interview on F0X last night to talk about their son’s sexual “misconduct” towards four of his sisters and a babysitter. There has been no sign of Josh. No interview. Nothing. Instead, the parents bring two of the victims (his sisters) to speak on his behalf and defend the pedophile, victimizing them even more and proving that Michelle and JimBob’s only concern is protecting the males and exposing the females. They threw the victims under the bus (in this case the media) and kept their pedophile son from the spotlight and from speaking. When Jill and Jessa said “We’re victims”, they weren’t referring to their brother molesting them, but to the media who has made the crime public.
This is classic behavior of indoctrinated young women and a patriarchal evangelical family who doesnt value women on the same level as men. Women are expected to cover up head to toe so they dont entice men’s sexual thoughts. If they are molested, its because they havent covered up enough. Josh’s sisters were merely objects of his “curiosity” and secondary characters in the family issue. They never were, and never will be, the main characters and victims who need protection and justice.
During the interview the parents said that Josh touched his sisters under the clothes because he was curious about girls. According to JimBob they were asleep when it happened and therefore they didnt know. (Sounds familiar to “its not rape is they are unconscious” talk?) They said only in a few occasions the girls were awake. One of these occasions according to the released police reports, was when Josh, then 15, put his 5 year old sister on his lap to read a book to her while he touched and fondled the VAGINA. Michelle and Josh Duggar never once said the words molestation or molested, instead they kept referring to it as “improper touching”.
You know what’s improper touching? Me playing with my adult boyfriend’s wiener. You know whats not improper touching, but child molestation? Me fondling my 7 year old brother’s wiener. BIG FUCKING DIFFERENCE.
To make matters worse, Michelle and JimBob admitted that it took Josh confessing THREE times for them to seek (questionable) help. It happened the first time and they prayed about it. It happened the second time and they prayed about it. It wasn’t until the third time that they took their son out of the house and away from the victims. They then took Josh to go talk to a family friend state trooper who didn’t report the crime, instead just gave him a firm talk and sent him back home.
This same state trooper is now serving a 56 year sentence for child pornography.
Let that sink in for a while.
After all this, The Duggars decided to keep Josh in their house with the victims while setting strict rules of dating for their children. No holding hands until engagement. First kiss is for after marriage. Side hugs only. All these practices were considered sinful by Michelle and JimBob and forbidden in their household. Apparently fondling your sisters breasts and vaginas weren’t as bad.
As Jim Bob reiterated later in the Kelly interview: “We’ve talked to other families who have had similar things happen so we didnt think it was a huge deal.” Perhaps they have.
Perhaps the specific abuse alleged in this case: older brother molesting younger sisters quietly and repeatedly, is more common than taboo wants us to believe. Perhaps the discovery of Josh’s behavior by the media will lead to an important conversation on child abuse. Perhaps it will help us all to reconsider how we talk to kids about sex, how we think about sex abuse, how we discuss the range of behaviors that can exist under the broad term of “molestation.”
Unfortunately, in this particular case we will not see justice. The parents were smart enough to cover up for their son, keeping this crime from the authorities until the statute of limitation expired, leaving the crime and Josh unpunished, and the victims without justice.
Josh Duggar will never be registered as a sex offender. He will not have a criminal record. He will not serve any jail time. He will not lose custody of his children. What he will do is continue to live a life with false morals, lobbying against minority groups of people and making millions out of his show on TLC. The victims will continue to live their lives believing that what happened to them was just an innocent behavior by a curious adolescent boy. They will continue to believe the violation of their bodies and dignity was just a mistake that has been forgiven by God and therefore has to be forgiven by them as well.
I know society has failed when it has failed to see child molestation for what is, and has instead chosen to see it as a simple (and acceptable) family matter that is to be kept private, muffled and away from authorities.