CN: Child Molestation, Rape, and General Hypocrisy. Here’s a nice recipe for Shrimp Fajita’s in Foil to spice up your cook out instead.
Josh Duggar, the oldest of the 19 children in Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s radical experiment to personally make the world as white as possible, has had a bad week. At a time when most Americans are celebrating the unofficial start of summer for Memorial Day, the Duggar clan has lost their lucrative TLC program, 19 Kids and Counting, which was suspended from production after news surfaced that everybody’s big brother Josh had done a very very bad thing as a teenager. To be specific, according to a police report obtained by In Touch Weekly;
Other bombshells in the police report are: Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses — including forcible fondling — against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were interview by the Springdale Police department on Dec. 12, 2006. The report says that James told police he was alerted in March, 2002 by a female minor that Josh — who turned 14-years-old that month — had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept. This allegedly happened on multiple occasions. In 2006, Jim Bob told police that in July, 2002 Josh admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept. “James said that they disciplined (redacted, Josh) after this incident.” The family did not alert authorities.
Ewwwwwwww… There’s more details available on the net if you feel the need to know all the details. Suffice to say that it appears that one or more of the victims in this case were Josh’s younger sisters. Ewwwwww!
I’m nowhere near the person you should be reading when it comes to this case, but I thought it best to do what little we could to amplify some of the great bloggers and activists in the atheist and skeptical community who do have a lot to say about this case.
Libby Anne of Love, Joy, Feminism, has been relentless in her commentary since this scandal broke.
Jim Bob was called in and interviewed. He stated that Josh had sexually molested several girls over the course of a year. Jim Bob knew of this beginning in March 2002, when Josh was 14. Josh’s victims were children younger than him, and in some cases significantly so. For an entire year Jim Bob knew what was happening, but did not go to the police or seek treatment or outside intervention. In March 2003, with the incidents of molestation still occurring, Jim Bob said he and the elders at his church, to whom he had gone for advice, agreed that Josh should enter a treatment program.
But when one of the elders at Jim Bob’s church suggested sending Josh to a legitimate treatment program, Jim Bob demurred, reasoning that Josh would likely be exposed to more serious offenders and that that was not appropriate for the nature of his offense. So instead of sending Josh to an actual treatment program, Jim Bob sent him to Little Rock for four months to help a family friend with some remodeling.
When Josh returned in July 2003, Jim Bob took Josh to speak with a state trooper he knew personally about what had happened. The trooper gave Josh “a very stern talk” but didn’t file a report, reportedly reasoning that nothing needed to be done because Josh had already gone through a treatment program. Except of course that helping a family friend in Little Rock do some remodeling is not a treatment program. (The trooper who spoke with Josh was later convicted of child pornography.)
The Duggars have long been avid followers of Gothard and his ministry. They’ve used their platform to promote Gothard, his teaching material, and his homeschool curriculum, which the family used until recently. The older Duggar children have consistently attended ATI seminars and retreats, including Journey to the Heart (for the girls) and ALERT (for the boys). Gothard was outed as a predator of teen girls last year and removed from his leadership position, but the Duggars continue to serve for speakers at ATI conferences. The Duggars’ connection to Gothard and ATI is not incidental or tangential.
Just what do Gothard and ATI teach about sexual abuse and about situations where the perpetrator is a minor? We can find out by looking at some of their materials. For example, have a look at “Counseling Sexual Abuse,” a document distributed at ATI seminars for over a decade:
Nowhere in his list of guidelines for parents does Gothard talk about the importance of parental supervision. Nowhere does he advise ensuring that older siblings are not forced to assume parental roles. Nowhere does he mention the role played by physical violence (such as more severe forms of corporal punishment), marital discord (such as the underlying and unaddressed tensions common in families that believe in wifely submission), or implicit or explicit sexual tensions (such as the belief that normal sexual thoughts and age-appropriate masturbation are sin).
In the end, it is incredibly clear that Gothard has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to minor child sexual offenders, or sexual abuse in general. From his victim blaming to his complete ignorance of the factors that contribute to such abuse, Gothard is unable to effectively grapple with these problems or support victims.
This is one of the best pieces I’ve read on this subject, Libbey Anne doing her own amplifying, passing along the wisdom of her friend and fellow veteran of Christian Home Schooling Carmen Green
Forgiveness is a warped topic in fundamentalist Christian circles where abuse is concerned. Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh are using that language purposefully. They are tapping into the belief that no sin is too terrible for God to forgive and the mandate that we must forgive our trespassers as God has forgiven us. Together, these beliefs force victims in this subculture to shut up, sit down, and “make peace” with the people who have wronged them.
This results in victims having to act as if nothing ever happened. They still have to live with the perpetrator. They still have to speak to the perpetrator and show affection to them. They have to smile and pretend for years and years. No one gets real counseling. And the perpetrator is never punished.
Here Libbey Anne discusses the flaws in the case defenders of the Duggars make against liberal critics of Josh Duggar’s actions.
In short, there seems to be an assumption among some social conservatives that because progressives do not see premarital sex as sinful and wrong, they aren’t in any position to criticize Josh Duggar’s actions. In other words, because (in their view) progressives take an “anything goes” approach to sex, they argue, progressives are being hypocrites when they condemn Josh Duggar. This assumption is based in a serious misunderstanding of progressive sexual ethics.
This goes back to my “tale of two boxes.”
Melissa at Permission to Live, herself a former Quiverfull mother like Michelle Duggar, talks about how the Duggars are likely the tip of a very rotten iceberg.
If a parent is physically or emotionally largely unavailable such as would be the case for anyone with 19 children, parenting younger children can often fall to the older ones.The older child is often experiencing the parental neglect as well, and since they are not emotionally mature enough to handle being a parent, they end up relying on the younger child for whom they have parental responsibilities, for emotional fulfillment. Sometimes this leads to sexual actions as well. Other abuse existing in the home greatly increases the likelihood of sexual abuse occurring. If children are used to being emotionally abused, or physically abused, they do not have healthy boundaries or understandings of their rights as a human being.
Dana Hunter at En Tequila Es Verdad makes an impassioned plea for support of the victims in this case
The girls who were abused by Josh Duggar, and other kids in the Duggar family who need to escape, will probably never see this post. But if by some miracle they do, I want them to know: there are avenues of escape, should you want them. I’m pretty sure many of your fans would leap to provide you financial assistance through a GoFundMe campaign. Even those of us who aren’t fans would chip in – we care about your safety and well-being. You can hear other survivors’ stories and reach out for advice through No Longer Quivering and the Spiritual Abuse Survivors Network. I’m pretty sure the Free Jinger folks would lend a hand. If you need resources to help you deal with what Josh did to you, reach out to the good folks at RAINN [Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network] for information on where you can get proper counseling. You don’t have to wear a mask forever. You can overcome this, and you can live a life you were never allowed to dream of. And those resources will be available whether you need them today or decades from now. Someone on the outside will always be here for you.
That goes for all victims of sexual assault, and everyone trapped within the Christian Patriarchy movement. You don’t have to face this alone. The abuse you suffered does not define you.
Click on all the links. Read all the blogs. Do your homework on this fellow skeptic, atheist, humanist parents. This is big news. It’s a crack in the facade of smiling happy Christian Patriarchal families on TV that covers up a horrible reality for young women.
I’ll end with Ophelia Benson at Butterflies and Wheels, who sums things up succinctly and with zero tolerance for bullshit, which is why we love her.
I’m seeing people asking a lot of very strange questions about why anyone should care that Josh Duggar groped his younger sisters and his family covered it up and did nothing about it.
Are they serious? We should care because the Duggars think and say they are better than everyone who doesn’t think like them, and they have a very large public megaphone – and may still have it if TLC’s cancellation of their show turns out to be temporary. We should care because Josh Duggar was a higher-up in the reactionary homophobic Family Research Council until he resigned two days ago because the truth about his past came to light.
We should care because the Duggars are reactionary theocratic homophobic antifeminist Christian activists who pose as Nice and Smiley and Good. They do harm, so of course we should care that they covered up a crime against their own god damn daughters.