Hi. Unless you've been under a rock for the past week, you can probably guess what this post is going to be about. The Duggars.
The kids are all home for summer vacation, and I'm not exactly sure how much writing I will be able to do with them around. So we'll see how this goes.
Incidentally, I've talked to all of them about the things I'm writing about today. If you have children, I beg you to do the same. The vast majority of threats to our children aren't from strangers, as much as people seem to believe it; they are far more likely to be victimized by someone they know.
The entire story, as sickening as it is, wasn't a huge surprise to me. I tend to be highly skeptical of people who claim to be so pious publicly because I always wonder what it is exactly that they are compensating for, what they are attempting to convince themselves isn't as bad as it truly is.
That, and I've been around molestation before. Up close and personal with it. I've seen how generations of family members can hide things. I've seen how complacence is essentially the same thing as encouragement of abuse. I've seen how damaging it is to the victims who are chided by the adults they are supposed to be able to trust, told they are wrong or lying or that they just need to keep it quiet.
I've seen what happens when things come to light, the drastic attempts people will go to in order to keep these horrific secrets from leaking out, the blaming of the victim, all of it.
And I've lived in a world where those wearing the masks of religious conviction were revealed to be the biggest sinners of them all.
I'm a skeptic.
And I'm a skeptic for wholly legitimate reasons.
Having said all that, the story, as unsurprising as it is, is still immensely disturbing. The actions Josh took against his sisters and other family members weren't mistakes, they weren't normal exploration, they weren't any of the things the Duggar apologists say that they were. He wasn't playing doctor. He was systematically violating them.
As I've said on my Facebook page, though, there are still people who would argue the degree of culpability involved on his part, and I'll entertain those arguments in so much as he was a minor at the time of the offenses. There are people who say that he was sheltered and less "worldly", so that contributed to his actions. There are people who say that he couldn't have appreciated the wrongness of his actions, though I suspect the very people defending him for this would call for him to be charged as an adult had he killed five family members instead of violating them sexually. A fourteen year old isn't a four year old. They can appreciate right and wrong.
He is not the victim here, make no mistake about it.
There is a distinct possibility that he was abused himself, that he learned his predatory ways as the victim of someone else. Whether he was or wasn't is pure speculation, and it's truly irrelevant here because he isn't claiming it was learned behavior that should (theoretically) make him somewhat less culpable. Even if it was, the fact that someone has been abused does not give them a free pass to abuse others. The cycle has to stop somewhere.
He was a minor, and the legal system treats minors differently than adults for a reason - but the legal system was essentially uninvolved in this case entirely.
I lay fault for that, entirely, at the feet of his parents. They actively hid his crimes, they discussed it with church elders and decided that they knew better than the law. They shipped him off to supposedly seek therapy (at a place run by a man later found to be having multiple affairs with employees and grooming young girls for abuse, mind you), and the "therapy" he received seems to have involved construction - not therapy at all.
They didn't go to the authorities for over a year. When Jim Bob finally did call someone in law enforcement, he told the officer that he just wanted his son to have a stern talking to. That officer is sitting in jail right now on child pornography charges. It should shock no one that he failed to do his job as a mandated reporter and refer this case for investigation and prosecution.
The statute of limitations expired on the case because of suppression of the facts. The parents, this officer, in my opinion, are on the hook for obstruction of justice, and likely as accessories to the crime because they allowed the victims ample exposure to Josh after they knew about his abusive patterns.
They claim he's been forgiven by God, that the family has moved on. I don't honestly care what they think about his forgiveness. They do not speak for God, and they certainly don't speak for his victims. They do not get to decide that he is forgiven. His relationship with God has nothing to do with his responsibility under the law, with their responsibility under the law for what happened.
These parents also set these girls up as prey, by raising them in this bizarre religious sect that believes that women are subservient to men, that women are to remain pure and chaste until marriage, at which time they are supposed to surrender themselves at all times to the sexual will of their husbands. The schooling program they employ teaches that the victims of abuse are often at fault because they've enticed the abuser.
Josh's own statement says that he quit abusing them because he was ruining his own life, with no mention made of the victims. He says he is sorry, but he's only come forward with this pseudo-apology because the information became public. He has enjoyed financial success and political influence for years, resting entirely on the Christian family values they espouse.
He now has daughters of his own. Shudder.
The family condemns homosexuals, claims that transgender individuals are dangerous to children. They aren't just a family on a reality television series. They have exacted influence in the political arena...and those politicians who were so eager for photo ops with them have largely been silent in the wake of this story.
Huckabee has come out in support of Josh and the family. Think carefully about whether someone who supports a child molestor and the family that intentionally covered up the crimes should be sitting in an office making decisions of national security.
Interesting that no one here is talking about the victims. Not Josh, not his parents, not the apologists.
They are but a mere footnote in this story, as they've been raised to believe that they are.
They, the female children, are just waiting until they can bear the fruit of their husband's will, at the mercy of his whims and wishes.
These girls were victims long before they were victims.
And that pisses me off.
If you are defending the Duggars, you are absolutely part of the problem.
If you are more worried about Josh than his victims, you are absolutely part of the problem.
If you believe that this should have been kept quiet, you are absolutely part of the problem.
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