19 kids and no accountability
“19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar molested four of his sisters and a family friend as a teenager, and many people have criticized his conservative Christian family for defending his behavior.
Duggar has even gathered support from some of his own victims, sisters Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald. Dillard said he is “not a child molester” and Seewald said he was “just a typical curious teen.”
While some may argue that the Duggars are doing their best to cope with a terrible family tragedy, the message they are sending is that child molestation is acceptable.
Nothing good can come of that.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have long been targets of media ridicule for their conservative, ultra-religious beliefs.
All 19 of their children are homeschooled, must adhere to strict modesty standards and are not allowed any physical contact with the opposite sex until marriage.
Their brand of family life also requires that women be submissive to their husbands and teaches that a woman’s place is being a wife and mother.
As more people come forward and defend what Josh did, the situation just becomes more tragic.
Parents should love their children no matter what. But when that child does something monstrous, parents face one of the most difficult choices of their lives.
By making excuses for their son’s actions, the Duggars have delegitimized their daughters.
Children are entitled to an environment where they can feel safe.
Dillard is now a mother herself, and Seewald is expecting her first child. But going forward, these young women may have difficulties as a result of their brother’s sexual abuse.
According to Psychology Today, sufferers of childhood abuse often deal with PTSD, resulting in “depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, problems with alcohol and drugs, sleep issues and eating disorders.”
They also often have trust issues and may fall into abusive relationships themselves as a result of the traumas they experienced as children.
Research shows that children recover more easily from sexual abuse with the help of a “supportive, caring adult … consistently in their life.”
But according to Vocativ, “Michelle said she thought her daughters ‘weren’t even aware … they didn’t probably even understand that it was improper touch,’ because they were so young.
“Jim Bob dismissed whatever issues the daughters might have (by) saying that by the time the Duggars agreed to be televised on TLC, they ‘had nothing to hide’ because ‘we had taken care of that (touching problem) years before’.”
Josh Duggar’s victims didn’t receive the support they needed from their parents.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have participated in the culture of victim-blaming. By defending Josh, and not physically or emotionally protecting the girls he victimized, they have failed as parents.