Social Issues

how Josh Duggar is getting away with it

[content note for discussions of child sexual assault]

Before we get started with today’s post, I’d like y’all to read these two pieces, especially if you’re not aware of what came out yesterday:

What you Need to Know about the Josh Duggar Police Report” by Libby Anne
Josh Duggar says he’s sorry. So what?” by Kathryn Elizabeth Brightbil

Libby Anne and Kathryn address many of the things I would have said, which I’m thankful for because now I can focus on making a broader point that I think applies to conservative evangelicalism as a culture and not just the Duggars as a family.


A close friend of mine has spent most of her adulthood in Spanish-speaking countries. During a recent visit, she told me a story about what it’s like to make the adjustments between languages. She was working with a bus ministry at her church and had to deal with a rambunctious boy who was invading the personal space of other children, including touching them without their consent. In order to try to reign him in, she wanted to tell him to “stop bothering her,” but what came out was “stop molesting her.”

In Spanish, the word for bother is molestar.

It was an amusing anecdote, but then she made the point that English tends to soften concepts that Spanish doesn’t. As a culture, we call what Josh Duggar did to his victims child molestation; even though we understand the connotation of the phrase, it doesn’t have the clarity that child sexual assault does.

Our culture is set up in almost every conceivable way to harbor abusers.

For example: racism, sexism, and any other form of systemic bigotry is, essentially the abuse of one people group by another. Individual white people benefit from a system that abuses people of color. Certain men receive benefits from rape culture, which allows the worst among us to take advantage of everything we collectively believe about women and sex.

Another way that our culture allows abuse to flourish is that we refuse to really deal with what is actually happening. Rape is referred to as “non-consensual sex,” and Josh sexually assaulted five little girls by groping their breasts and genitalia but that’s not what the media is calling it, and it certainly isn’t what anyone connected to the Duggars is calling it. It’s not being described as child sexual assault, not as the felony it is, but as molestation. Over and over again I’ve seen Christians calling it a “mistake.” In the different announcements we’ve gotten from the Duggars, it’s been coated over with a thick layer of Christian Speak. Anna, his wife, called it an “offense,” as if the sexual assault of a five-year-old were the same thing as calling her carrots.

It’s not just the Duggars that do this. We see this every single time one of these “scandals” comes to light. Whoever was responsible “apologizes,” but they never admit to anything. Josh said he “behaved inexcusably,” which doesn’t mean anything. If Josh had gotten up in front of everyone and said the words “I committed a felony, I sexually assaulted five little girls, and I’m sorry,” it would make it obvious to every single last person on the planet that oh, I’m sorry isn’t going to cut it.

But, in our culture, abusers can “apologize,” and that becomes the headline. And, as Kathryn pointed out, it makes the victims look bad in Christian culture if they don’t immediately “forgive.” We saw this with Sovereign Grace, and we’re seeing it now.

This is why I never use softening, minimizing language. I say assault and rape and abuse. And, if it comes to light that Josh digitally penetrated his victims, I’m going to start saying Joshua Duggar is a rapist.

The words we use matter.


The biggest reason why Josh will get away with sexually assaulting five girls is purity culture. If you’re a regular reader that connection should be apparent right now, as I’ve frequently talked about how my belief in “purity” kept me from talking about my rape for years.

Everything about this situation was not just mishandled, it was covered up. On purpose. That makes any mandatory reporter that knew about this a criminal (at the minimum, the church leadership and the original police officer, who did not file a report), and it makes Jim Bob and Michelle, in the words of Jesus, hypocrites and vipers. White-washed tombs, full of dead men’s bones and rotting corpses.

However, Jim Bob and Michelle and the church leadership and the police were able to cover this up because of the culture his victims belong to. They have been taught since they extremely young that women are capable of tempting the most holy man to sin, that women can provoke men into raping them, that if something bad happened they must always look for their part in the blame. The Duggars belong to an even more nightmarish subculture than I was exposed to, since they follow Bill Gothard. If you’re not familiar with ATI/IBLP, this is what Gothard teaches about sexual abuse.


That is the only framework that Josh’s victims had to process their assaults. Like me, they were forced by the only things they knew to evaluate how they could be responsible for what Josh did to them. It was their responsibility to repent of “immodesty” or any “sensuousness” they may have displayed, however innocently. Then, because they contributed to their own assault, they don’t have the ability to pursue justice. They were duty-bound to “forgive” their abuser because, after all, it was their fault, too.

If his victims were to come forward, to make police reports within the limited three-year window they had to get justice, they would have been dragged through a nightmare the likes of which we can’t even begin to imagine. It is extremely likely that every single last person they knew– their family, their church– would have turned their backs and rejected them. They would hear sermons preached about them about the “spirit of bitterness” and how it can destroy a young woman. They would have been sternly reminded that Christians handle problems among themselves and don’t involve the courts.

In ATI/IBLP, if they received any “counseling” at all (which seems unlikely, considering Michelle Duggar said that Josh’s “counseling” involved helping a family friend remodel his house), it would have been laser-focused on figuring out what the victims did “wrong” so they could be shamed for it.

This is what purity culture does. More than anything else, it silences victims.


Further reading:

When my abuser is welcome at the table, I am not” by Sarah Moon
Josh Duggar and the Purity Lie” by Sarah Posner
Josh Duggar and the Problem of Easy Forgiving” by Mary DeMuth

Photo by Vincepal
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  • If he was truly sorry and wanting forgiveness he would do the time in prison he deserves. Christian forgiveness only saves a person from hell, not the consequences of their actions on Earth. Restitution is also a part of forgiveness. He’s only sorry he got caught, and that’s not worth forgiving.

    • THANK YOU. I’ve yet to see this idea explained so clearly and succinctly. This is so true.

    • minuteye

      My mother always said there were two parts to any apology: Taking responsibility for your actions, and explaining how you were going to make it right.

      That second part seems to be missing from the Duggars’ discussion of what happened. Josh doesn’t even seem to acknowledge that it has to be made right in some way. There’s just this idea that saying sorry and asking for forgiveness automatically sets things right without any real consequences or restitution.

      • vida

        He’s not even taking responsibility. Not once has he said “I sexually assaulted several little girls.” He made “mistakes.” Sorry, but groping sleeping kids isn’t a mistake. It’s sexual assault. If he wanted to take responsibility for what he’s done and the damage he’s caused those girls, he wouldn’t be minimizing the severity of his actions.

        • Diggers family’s shouldn’t have never been on TLC in the first place knowing about this problem already accrue in 2002. 2006. I have been abuse as little girl.over and over . At nite relative too. As child . It’s So scary you LIVE in fear knowing this monster’s going to come into your room. It become fear, than you have no voice to tell mom or dad. That frieghting to get the courage to tell. As little girl you distant your self from others, your self esteem drop, you don’t fill worthy, YES you carry this ugly dark secret with you threw life. At the age 14-15 yrs old he knew right from wrong at that age . Predictor get away with for years he will seek again to some one else. Josh only sorry because he got caught. Now he decided to political and judge other. Like a hipercrit, MoM and dad Jill and jessa was protecting him Why? TO save he show ! It’s So so sad that they don understand why viewer are upset .

      • Isy

        At one time, when judges had more latitude in assigning sentences, one fellow I’d have given up on as an irredeemable troglodyte was sentenced to work in a women’s shelter for a year. The adjustment was bumpy on the staff at first, but he turned around in a matter of months, continued working there afterwards, and became an advocate against violence against women.

        Not that everyone would do that. If JD here is a true sociopath, it wouldn’t have much effect, except that the shelter could have someone dedicated to getting coffee and doing the heavy lifting for a year or five. However, if there’s actually anyone in there to save, then seeing the outcomes of this b.s. through the victim’s eyes, day after day and week after week, could really be both the punishment he deserves and the redemption he needs.

        • KellyK

          While I mostly like this idea, I’d be extremely concerned about putting a known sexual predator in a situation with women who are already vulnerable. I would assume the shelter would need to keep him away from their clients, and having someone who’s already proven untrustworthy to babysit might be more of a drain than a help.

        • Gullible No More

          Isy, your comment caught my eye.

          I hope, for the sake of every person that possibly irredeemable troglodyte encounters for the rest of his life, he has indeed turned his life around.

          About ten years ago, give or take a year, I knew a guy who told me he had worked in a woman’s shelter in the past. He made vague allusions to there being some kind of problems that lead him to that work, but as a result, he became an advocate against violence against women.

          “Good for you.” I thought, when he told me that.

          I got to know him a little over a span of a year, in casual group settings, as we ran in overlapping social circles at our university. He came off as gregarious and positive. The one time I was alone with him, despite knowing that I’m gay (and female), he tried to convince me to spend the night with him. When I refused, he abruptly became insanely angry – his face was pure rage. I ran for my car and avoided him from that point on.

          If your troglodyte fellow was a true sociopath, he would be exceedingly skilled at knowing how to read and deceive you, as my “advocate against violence against women” did me, I hope, however, that you are right about your guy.

          As for Josh D., if he is a sociopath, or pathologically narcissistic, it seems to me we have an unprecedented opportunity to gain insight about his illness, given that more-than-a-decade of his interactions with family and friends have been caught on video. I think it would do many people good to become better at recognizing it and learn to protect themselves, and for the medical world to shoulder the task of developing effective treatment. I have been wondering if the work of Dr. Amen, whose methods have resulted in halting and even reversing the effects of traumatic brain injury, depression and Alzheimer’s. would benefit sociopaths as well. .

          As an adult child of a sociopath, I know too well the intense damage that they can do, but I also think the only answer, other than locking them up for life, is finding a medical treatment.

      • Goff jesse

        Yeah the first part is missing too, im sorry means im sorry i got caught but please let me get away wit it so i can keep doing it

        No personal responsibility

        Your moms right though

    • ben

      Public ridicule is his prison sentence. People just must not forget what he did. The small impacts on his life each and every day will have a compounding impact on his life. Prison I fear will just make him a repeat offender.

      • low-tech cyclist

        Public ridicule is not sufficient.

        First of all, most people will forget and move on. There’s a lot of outrageous stuff happening in the world, and nobody can keep it all straight. Newer stuff will always push out older stuff.

        Second, he can simply retreat back into his Quiverfull culture, where there will be no ridicule, let alone actual consequences.

        There need to be consequences for acts like these, in order to discourage men from committing sexual assaults such as this. If consequences are rare, abusers will abuse. And women ought to be able to trust (and the sooner the better) that the law will take sexual assaults seriously, that crimes against them will not be disregarded.

      • Dana

        If they let him back out. The problem is that we keep letting them back out.

  • He’s just sorry he got caught. He’s doing immediate damage control and hoping that in the fall he can quietly go work for a PAC or think tank.

  • Still missing the connection that forgiven by God = protection from the law. I get it, but I don’t; wouldn’t it suggest truer repentance to submit to the legal consequences? Aren’t Christians called to obey authority? Disgusting.

    I’ve already seen status updates from new friends I’ve made at church, and while it saddens me to have to be “that person” making waves, I can’t keep silent about this. I don’t know how to keep silent about something like this. I’ve been calling them out or defriending altogether. I have no patience for this.

    • Isy

      Excellent, Beth 🙂 True Christianity. My wonderful old pastor *never* would have played along with this.

  • Amy

    Samantha, something I’ve been wondering as I’ve been reading these articles is what we should ask from Josh? I guess, is it possible for him to apologize in a way that you would consider genuine, or is there something more that we should be looking for?

    Kind of along those lines, I’ve also been wondering how these things work out long term. I understand the concern with what he did being called teenage mistakes, though I do wonder how much his lack of sexual education contributed to his actions, but I also wonder, does he have to be branded with this his whole life? I don’t want others to be hurt, but I also deeply believe that people can be redeemed and completely change their lives, and I’m wondering how sins at an early age should affect people much farther much down the roads of their lives? Prison, in my mind, unless it’s a rehabilitative prison (I was reading the other day about an interesting one in Britain for sex offenders) doesn’t solve the problem. Which I’m not saying Josh has turned his life around, I don’t know. I’m thinking more big picture now.

    Oh, and I’m not saying his lack of sexual education excuses him, in my mind it just makes the whole situation more tragic.

    • dcnner

      What happens when people get lost in focusing on the perpertrator in this sort of scandal is all this distancing and justification. Focus on THIS: 5 little girls are fucked up forever, and get to deal with this shit for the rest of thier lifes, and the damage is PERMANENT to them, and they get to carry what he gave them for life, no outs. IN LIGHT OF THAT, what should we ask of him?

      • dcnner

        sorry bout the typos. I might have been emotional while typing and hit the enter a bit too soon

      • ml

        Thank you. Five Girls are definitely f’d up in some manner.

        Everyone is poor Josh. What about his victim’s lives?

        • ben

          All those girls are f’d up already. The duggars just view women as baby factories and not equals. I’ve been waiting for one of them to leave the compound and tell all or go off the deep end.

      • Anononymous

        As a male victim of childhood rape (family and non family perpetrators) I couldn’t agree more.

        Sooner or later these women will realize how completely they were outraged, betrayed, and used by their brother and by the parents who should have protected them, parents who cared more about the TV gravy train and “Christian” propaganda than protecting their defenseless daughters. Sooner or later these women will realize just how much fear they are carrying, because they will realize they have never, ever, known safety. Another layer of betrayal — even the “religious” community they belong to, does not lift a finger for them.

        Dirty little secret: assuming a determined effort, and access to good therapists (and therapists skilled at treating sexual trauma are in fact quite rare) is the work of decades. It will never happen for these women unless they make the extremely difficult break from the family and all the political/ religious paraphernalia that surrounds it. Not very likely.

    • Bethany

      I agree with dcnner a lot over here. The focus on Josh and his struggle is what’s seen as most important here – both by family and by supporters, and the victims are brushed aside with a dismissive comment about how they’ve forgiven him (given the culture they were brought up in, I wouldn’t be surprised if they thought this was the only option they had). What about them? Where do they figure? Do THEY count?

      This whole episode has become extremely triggering for me because almost the same thing happened in my case. I’m Catholic, and was sexually abused by my brother as a child, though only for 3 days and my mum did put a stop to it by talking to him. However, when I blocked the whole memory and started acting normal immediately afterwards, everyone took it for granted that it was nothing serious and no one needed to worry about it anymore. I started getting flashbacks of this at 12 and the first person I told was my mother, and out of fear for my *brother* she shut me down every time. I wasn’t allowed to talk to her about it, I wasn’t allowed to treat him any differently over it, I wasn’t allowed therapy, I wasn’t allowed to share what happened to me with anyone else because what he did was just “a silly boy conducting an experiment” and “you hadn’t even lost your virginity, so no harm done”. I lived through almost 5 years of hell before I could open up to someone about it: 5 years during which I had to battle trichotillomania, suicidal thoughts and depression all on my own. 5 years of not knowing when I would feel that familiar burning sensation in my thighs next, which made it impossible for me to concentrate on my studies. Even today when my folks tell me about the “trouble” I gave them as a teen, I cringe not out of embarrassment, but out of suppressed anger, because they will never understand, or want to, that their desire to shield my brother from me was responsible for that phase in my life. In case I did not want to forgive him, act normal around him, make him comfortable, I was the bad person for not doing so. It was my responsibility not to “betray” the family over something that happened so long ago, you see.

      When my brother and I eventually did talk about it, the conversation ended up revolving around him and how it affected *him*. Anything said about the things I went through because of it and he would be on the defensive or not want to listen to it. It didn’t even occur to me to be angry about this until much later. That’s how indoctrinated I was in this belief that my experience wasn’t important and didn’t matter, and I have no doubt that he grew up believing this too.

      Today I still battle that feeling that my emotions and what I went through counted for less than my brother’s emotional safety, and I’m in a culture where it’s close to impossible to distance yourself from your family completely. It’s been more than 20 years since the abuse and I still deal with the repercussions – not so much of the abuse, as of the silencing and the minimizing and of constantly being told I made a mountain out of a molehill.

      “Does he have to be branded with this his whole life?” Duggar spent most of his life getting away from the repercussions of his actions. Even now, if he and his family were to truly take responsibility, his focus would have been on what his victims went through and not how he is a “better person now”. Does being a better person erase what he did to those children? Does it cancel out his violation of their bodies? Does my brother being a better person now cancel out those years I spent in self-harm because there was no other way to cope?

      The least Duggar can do? I don’t know really. But in the light of how he judges other people on their sexual orientation and choices THAT DON’T POSSIBLY DAMAGE THE PSYCHES OF LITTLE GIRLS FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, I think he needs to just step back and admit that he and his parents are nothing but a bunch of Pharisees. Hypocrites. People who condemn behaviour that harms no one while causing harm themselves. At the very, very least.

      PS: Samantha, I’ve been following your blog for a crazy long time and I love your posts! This is a problem I find in Catholic purity culture as well. When it comes to consensual sex our priests and preachers come down on you heavily for it, but when you’re sexually abused, the focus is not on the sexual crime or that someone has violated your boundaries but that you are not being “Christian” enough if you don’t forgive the perp and let them be.

      • Lady Amy

        Bethany and dcnner I’m sorry I came across as focusing on Josh instead of his victims. I certainly think they should be the the center of this, and not Josh, and dcnner’s question was precisely what I was poorly attempting to ask.

        Bethany, I’m so sorry that happened to you, and I really appreciate your response. I have a dear friend who was sexually abused, and stories like yours always make me wonder if she really healed as quickly as she appears to have. I suspect not. If you have any advice for how to best love a friend who has been sexually abused, I would love to hear it.

        • Bethany

          Thanks so much Amy 🙂 That honestly does mean a lot. The thing is different survivors have different ways of healing/surviving/coping, so my advice may or may not be very helpful but I’ll definitely try. I think her trusting you with her experience speaks volumes that you might be someone she trusts enough to respect her privacy and her survival. The words “I’m sorry that you have been violated and it’s not your fault” are so, so essential for a survivor to hear. What really touches a chord is when a survivor is believed and validated and encouraged (but not pressured) to seek help when s/he/ze is ready. When people around him/her/hir understand that his/her/hir ways of coping may not always be perfect but that they are unique to that individual and it is of utmost importance for everything to happen organically, without pressure but with the assurance of support when and where they need it. Eg. For a very long time I wanted to take up therapy but didn’t feel emotionally equipped enough to handle it. My husband knows just a part of my story and though he admitted he didn’t know how to adequately help me, he did read up and educate himself and model his language accordingly. At a point where we both felt I was hitting an emotional nadir, he told me that if I did want to go for counseling he would definitely support me and we could start looking for good places in our city. He didn’t pressure me, allowed me to take my time, and two and a half months later I found a counseling center that did a lot of work in the area of CSA, and went for my first session.

          Now, I had a particular way of dealing with what happened to me. Your friend might have another, someone else might have another. So even what we see as support may be different. I highly appreciate it when there are trigger warnings on a post, a friend of mine with a similar experience might find the same thing a hindrance.

          As long as your friend knows that you respect her boundaries AND you have her back whenever she needs support, and that if she finds something triggering about something you may have said in innocence she feels comfortable enough to express this to you, I think you’re good. She may, or may, not open up to you about her progress, but what counts is that she knows someone understands 🙂

          • Lady Amy

            Thanks Bethany. I so appreciate your thoughts. 🙂

      • mia

        I have lived through and with a very similar situation especially in regards to how my family handled it. To this day I am the betrayer of the family for even speaking about it. Even though we don’t know each other I just wanted to know I feel your pain and frustration and send you love and best wishes..

        • Bethany

          Thanks so much Mia. 🙂 Sending lots of love, light and healing your way too!

    • If Josh’s “apology” had contained a single note of concern for his victims, I might have believed it. Slightly. If you read it, his apologies are all about how he’s sorry he did somet5hing that might ruin HIS life, oh HE made a mistake and he doesn’t want it to hurt HIS future. He doesn’t give a shit about what it did to his sisters; they’re just women, after all.

      He all but pretended they didn’t exist in that apology. It was pretty wretched.

    • KellyK

      I think it depends on what you mean by “branded for life.” Should he be unemployable and shunned? No. But should he ever have the opportunity to be alone with a young girl? Also no. Nor should he complain about how he’s being picked on if people don’t trust him. Yes, he was a teenager, but the vast majority of teenagers know not to sexually assault their five-year-old siblings.

      • Lady Amy

        Kelly, That makes sense, thanks.

      • True Disbeliever

        Josh already has a daughter and will soon have another. Maybe his wife Anna ought to be on the alert.

    • Kill him.

    • Mickey

      Yes, he has to be branded with this his whole life because he is a sex offender. If he were to register as such with the State that would help his case in the court of public opinion, which is all there is left.

  • I’ve been disturbed by the coverage of this story, and I’m glad you’re writing about it, Samantha! Like, I imagine, many of the folks that read your work, it’s my personal experience with (Christian, evangelical) purity culture that inspires me to always push back. I think it’s important to both discredit the Quiverfull movement and to find a way back for victims and enforcers of this and similar cultures.

    I also want to push back on using this particular incident to attack the Duggars, though. I’m especially upset about the Thinkprogress coverage, I blog I generally enjoy, but I’d like to hear more from folks about what this family should have done differently. Taking the various family members at their word (which to avoid plunging into absolute cynicism you have to at least allow for, right?) they didn’t just cover up this abuse. The parents spoke with Church members and eventually some of those same Church members went with the family to the police station when Josh made his statement. They supposedly got counseling for the children involved and made Josh discuss this with his (now) wife before they started their courtship.

    What happened with the police was certainly sketchy, but you can’t fault the Duggars for trying to protect their child from prosecution. I would like there to have been more trained professionals involved determining whether these children were safe in their home, but do I wish the outcome was that Josh ended up in juvenile detention? I don’t feel that way right now.

    I mean this can and does happen in all sorts of families, and I’m not comfortable passing summary judgment on the success/value of those families’ ideologies by picking the most heinous episodes of one member’s behavior. On top of that, one of our main problems with purity culture is that it makes these incidents all-too-easy to cover up. BUT, the Duggars seem not to have taken full advantage of that power. They seem to have done the right thing. Or as close to the right thing as you can be expected to do when your children are both the perpetrators and the victims of a violent sexual crime.

    I’m sorry if I made you take the brunt of my morning’s thoughts on this topic, but I’d like to hear more of yours! What do you imagine the perfect response could be from the Duggars (without them throwing up their hands and denouncing the Quiverfull movement, which would obviously be all our first choice)? What would the perfect response be outside of fundie ideology in general?

    • What happened with the police was certainly sketchy, but you can’t fault the Duggars for trying to protect their child from prosecution.

      …Why not?

      Why it is a reasonable or non-monstrous approach to say, “He committed sexual assault, but he’s my son, so I’ll do everything in my power to protect him from consequences?” Why was letting a predator get off with being required to help a family friend remodel his house something we “can’t fault them” for, but leaving his sisters at his mercy for years not worth mentioning? By what frame of reference did the Duggers “do the right thing” when it came out over twelve years later?

      • Well there’s no universally (or even nationally) accepted approach to punishing children who sexually abuse: whether they should be removed from the home, placed on a registry, etc. Human Rights Watch says these children should be treated in a manner that takes into account their age and potential for rehabilitation. Our current system allows for a lot of leeway in how this cases are handled. Maybe that needs to change, but as a family existing in that system did they do the right thing by pursuing an outcome that didn’t involve losing one or more of their children? My stance right now, with the facts available to me, is that they did.

        I do feel there’s this trend in the media of “Why didn’t we know about this,” with references to this news “breaking” or “coming out.” The Duggars notified the community, law enforcement, and even Josh’s potential partner. Unless Josh was convicted and placed on a juvenile sex offender registry this would never have been “public” in the way the media wants it to be. There’ve been no denials (or “no comments”) since the media attention started from any family members, either.

        Again, my argument is not that purity culture isn’t horrible, or that the Duggars aren’t harming our culture by presenting themselves as a spokesfamily for the Quiverfull movement, but that this episode doesn’t highlight what is actually harmful about that movement.

        • The Duggars notified the community, law enforcement, and even Josh’s potential partner.

          That characterization of what happened seems extraordinarily charitable to Josh (and correspondingly uncharitable to his victims).

          You wrote a great deal but somehow never addressed my questions, either why you would claim (either Samantha, or Everyone) could not fault the Duggars for their efforts to protect their son from prosecution after he committed a particularly vile crime, or why, if they were justified in ignoring the harm to their son’s victims to Protect Their Child, it was okay that they did nothing to protect Josh’s sisters from Josh. Accordingly, attempting to engage with you further begins to seem profoundly unrewarding.

          • ml

            Here’s what everyone is missing. It wasn’t just HIS sisters. Supposedly it happened to someone outside the family.

            What was done to prevent that family from pursuing this legally?

        • They notified their church community who view women as merely breeders and servants. And hey! Incest is in the bible, right?

          The police officer they notified is currently in jail for child we know how seriously he took it. ROFL

          The recent “apologies” made no mention of Duggar’s victims and what it has done to *their* lives, or possible future victims. I’m terrified for Josh’s daughters. It was all about Josh and what it did to him.

          I saw no rehabilitation or counseling made available. Just this ‘movement’ that already devalues women.

          His SISTERS. A FIVE YEAR OLD. Does he have no boundaries?

          The Silence and dismissal of females are what is wrong with this movement.

        • Stop calling him a child. He was a teenager. His youngest victim was five. The family and church sacrificed the girls to save the son. That screams volumes to me. Even today, there is no concern over his victims, just what his has doe to Josh.

          • Loubird

            Linda, I have been reading what has been going on with a kind of, dare I say, boredom. And not being it is at all boring, but because I have been through this twice already. Once, when my sister in law was molested by an elder in our church, and the pastor begged my husbands parents not to report it, and they obliged. And second, when it came out that the Assistant Pastor of the church I grew up in had been having sex with the Senior pastors daughter for 6 years, which started when she was 15, which WAS reported to the authorities – though the fact that it was the senior pastors daughter was not revealed until a year and a half later, even though the daughter wanted her name to be known and wanted to testify against him, but the father/pastor wouldn’t let her. So I guess you may say that I am almost numb from the pain and anger these events have caused me. But Linda, your comment, “The family and church sacrificed the daughters to save the son,” is the most profound thing I have come across in all of this, and instantly brought me to tears. You are absolutely right. That is exactly what has so wrongly, unjustly, unbiblically, and unlovingly been done. You have given me fresh vigor to fight, and for that, I thank you.

          • Loubird

            Oh and I forgot to add that the elder who molested my sister in law just so happened to be the senior pastors brother. All the more proving your point.

        • I agree completely. I am not a fan of the Duggars, and I never have been. I’m also female, and a victim of sexual assault myself. What he did was terrible, but what do people think would have been the “correct” way to respond to Josh’s behavior? It was reported to the authorities, he received counseling (I’m not going comment on the type of counseling – I don’t know enough of the details to make an informed judgement on it), and, from what we know, he has not reoffended. And let’s not forget that this sort of situation is not wholly uncommon in young teenagers (don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying it’s okay). But as you pointed out, laws dealing with issues such as these are a bit fuzzy. And as for making it public, what did people want them to do? Call NBC up immediately and issue a press release? Just because it wasn’t made national news doesn’t mean it wasn’t taken seriously. Not to mention the fact that if it had gone public at that time it would have done more damage to the girls – who’d already been through a traumatic experience. Do people really wish that those girls had been dragged into the center of a media circus at such a young age? It’s a bad situation, and it should never have happened, that’s for sure, but how else do people wish it had been handled (I’m honestly curious)? They disclosed it to the police, got counseling for everybody, and Josh told Anna and her parents well before their engagement. Keep in mind it’s not “the world’s business” what happened. People keep saying that he needs to be accountable to more than God, but since there is a police report it seems to me that he was. It was taken to the police, what other secular authority should it have gone to? It seems people wish it had been taken to the court of public opinion, and I hate to have to say this, but public opinion isn’t (and shouldn’t be) the law. The only thing that I find truly frustrating about this situation is that Josh is asking for forgiveness and acceptance from the public as a whole (which usually I’m good with…), but the Duggars are notorious for denying that same forgiveness and acceptance to others. Think of the way they view and treat members of the LGBT community and the instance when Jill Duggar was “forbidden” from being a midwife to Anna Duggar’s sister when she became pregnant without being married. It’s fine to ask for forgiveness, but you really need to extend that forgiveness to others. If you’re going to be as self-righteous as the Duggars, you should really behave in a way that backs that up. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone….”

          • First and foremost, the parents created an environment of male domination and female submissiveness….a perfect storm for this horrible tragedy to occur: the eldest male child is taught that God has placed him in a privileged position where women are HIS to do with as he pleases. The sisters were raised to believe that they must be submissive to men, and if they became victims of sexual assault, they somehow “tempted” the man. In my opinion, this atmosphere is the definition of “abusive.”

            Second, the Duggars did not “report” the crimes for an entire year after it had been discovered. When they knew that they were going to be exposed, they turned to church members who mostly believe the same ridiculous garbage. Then, they “reported” the crimes to a pedophile law enforcement officer who is now serving a very long sentence for having kiddie porn…..he never reported the crimes.

            Josh’s “therapy” was being sent to help a family friend to remodel their home for a few months.

            What should have happened? Well, the family shouldn’t have created an environment that is ripe for abuse. When the abuse was discovered, they should have immediately sought PROFESSIONAL counseling and therapy for all the family members involved. The girls should have been taken to a pediatrician who would have checked their health.

            The parents SHOULD HAVE called the police and had their son held accountable for the crimes he committed. They SHOULD HAVE protected their other children from their predator. Certainly, they shouldn’t have been searching out opportunities for celebrity, when their children were suffering through this crisis.

            I could keep going…..

          • L

            eponym1, w
            1. We do know that he re-offended. Even in the initial reporting, it was expressed that he was caught repeatedly over a period of years, counselled repeatedly, and continued sexually assaulting his younger sisters. He never stopped, as far as far as we know.
            2.The Duggars did not protect their daughters, (or any other girls). Even if they had sought to only protect their daughters, they would have had, at the very least, a monitor in the bedrooms/a system set up to monitor Josh’s whereabouts/behavior. This would have gone a long way in protecting their daughters. It also would have protected Josh from himself.
            3.There were a whole lot of people in that household. It is only logical to assume a whole lot of people knew what was going on. I liked watching the Duggars on TLC (and barely ever watch TV).
            What Josh did, repeatedly sexually assaulting girls younger than him, was absolutely predatory; and ultimately permitted.
            4. Five girls were documented as being sexually assaulted by Josh. Is anyone naive enough to believe that number is comprehensive? In these situations, the tip of the iceberg is the general rule.
            5. I have the sense that Jim Bob, believed that by Josh marrying, he would have an appropriate outlet for his sexual desires, thus solving the problem. I believe this is a father living in denial.
            6. I could never say with any conviction that I believe his daughters, or other females, are safe. He was the oldest son, and there is a feeling of entitlement that comes across from him, and the fact that there was nothing done to draw a line in the sand and say, NO, you are not entitled to sexually assault anyone. Period.
            I wish this family the best. I do not believe they will ever find true peace until they deal with the abandonment of their daughters and what was repeatedly allowed to occur to them over many years.
            A spade needs to be called a spade before any true healing can occur.

        • KellyK

          If he ever, even for a minute, had unsupervised access to a younger girl after his parents knew that he had a history of molesting them, then, no, they did not do the right thing. That, to me, is the key thing. I understand protecting your son, but not at the expense of your daughters.

        • Mickey

          He is a self admitted child molester and sex offender. His parents covered up his crimes, which is obstruction of justice. They all should have been prosecuted. Apparently purity culture believes it is above the law.

      • AngryTardis

        They were NOT trying to protect their five little girls from anything. They were not doing every thing in their power to protect the five girls assaulted from consequences.

    • Kimberly

      I absolutely can fault the Duggars for trying to avoid prosecution of their son at the expense of their daughters.
      Further proof that according to their culture he is more important than they are simply because he’s male.

    • A. Woman

      They didn’t take him to the police station. They took him to a friend of the family, who happened to be a police officer, and who has since been convicted for child poenography. Who, by the way, was a mandatory reporter, as was the clergy the family spoke with, and none of them did. The parents, the church, and the police involved only protected the perpetrator, not the victims. And that strikes me as even more heinous in the case of the parents, considering the victims were also their children. Which is far too often the case in crimes against women in general, and women in this particular sub-culture even more-so.

      There is no acceptable response within this culture, where all girls (apparently even five-year-olds) hold the power to tempt good God-fearing men to sexual assault just by existing and being female. Which is the point of the article.

  • Angrysister

    I just found out recently that my precious little brother was molested at a very young age by our cousin, who, while a (13-14?)minor at the time, is 7 years older than my brother.
    Let me just say, there was nothing about this that was a “mistake.” He purposefully chose my brother because he was younger and weaker, and did so more than once. He convinced my brother to keep it a secret because HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING.
    My brother kept it a secret until about two years ago, at age 19, struggling from depression and suicidal thoughts (attempted suicided in middle school). My mom finally found out (long story), but to all of those who think that it’s better to keep these things in the past, that the damage isn’t huge… have obviously not had it happen to themselves or anyone they love. It is real, and it is an evil, destructive thing to do.
    We are currently keeping quiet because my brother has asked us to, but the few of us who knew are seriously struggling with that silence.
    By focusing on Josh Duggar and how this “mistake” is ruining his life, we are hurting all of those victims again, and telling them that their pain doesn’t matter as much as his career/image/feelings.

  • That chart–I had to look twice to believe it wasn’t a parody. Oh wow.

  • I grieve so much for his victims, for how they’ve been completely and totally silenced so that they don’t even have the OPTION anymore to step forward some day in the future and own their own story! The unredacted reports have been destroyed, at the request of ONE victim, and I can’t be certain that the request wasn’t made under duress. It’s horrible, it’s terrible, and I utterly *despise* the way that the victims are being erased in all this.

    I suspected that the whitewashed visage they presented was rotten to the core… but I can’t help but admit that I had hoped I was wrong about just how bad it was.

    • [Edit]

      • Hey Beatrice–

        Thank you for participating here, but I don’t want the police report reproduced in the comments or linked to. The InTouch version doesn’t redact enough information, and it exposes too much about the victims.

  • Sort of reminds of of the adventures of Ted Kennedy and more recently Bill ‘slick willie‘ Clinton.

    • LDante

      No, sir it does not. If you truly believe what you have said, you could perhaps benefit from some volunteer work at a rape crisis center. Next time you have something brilliant to say please don’t.

    • Kia

      Beside the fact those were consensual?

    • Which children did they molest? Oh yeah, none. But of course there is no end to the number of cases of pedophilia by religious leaders on the right. An easy google will bring it up. Shall we?

    • Rebecca

      If that reminds you of adult consensual sexual behavior, then you, sir, have fundamental problems which need to be addressed in a professional setting. How dare you attempt to make this a political issue? It is nothing of the sort. This is about five little girls who have been sexually victimized by someone they trusted; it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with choosing to have sex with another. Shame on you. And shame on whoever should have taught you to know the difference. They failed utterly.

    • KellyK

      Funny, I don’t recall Melanie Lewinski being five years old. Or asleep at the time. Your comment illustrates the problems with a sexual ethic that doesn’t prioritize consent.

      • KellyK

        Er, Monica Lewinski, that is.

    • If a teenager sexually abusing his younger sisters reminds you of a consensual (if adulterous) relationship between adults, you got problems, buddy.

  • Has anyone mentioned how Duggar did not come forward, he was outed. And the policeman who “investigated” this case is in jail for child pornography?

    • Yes, the articles Samantha linked at the start of her post do.

  • Crystal

    If this were my family, they would believe me and do something about it.

    I feel so sorry for the Duggar girls, and his other victim(s), especially when he trots out how bad teh eeeevviill gay people (sarcasm) are and how they will do as he did.

    More info on the topic below. The conservatives have been talking about this – LifeSiteNews and Fox News among them too, so I’m pretty sure it happened; here’s the bing search for their perspective:

    Also some more from one of my favourite web-logs:

    I’d encourage you to come to FA and comment sometimes. I believe you would bring an interesting perspective to the forum with your belief system.

  • Arkansas law agrees with you, Samantha. This is taken directly from Arkansas’s legal definition of sexual assault:

    Arkansas Code 5-14-103. Rape:
    (A) A person commits rape if he engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person:
    (1) By forcible compulsion; or
    (2) Who is incapable of consent because he is physically helpless, mentally defective or mentally incapacitated; or
    (3) Who is less than fourteen (14) years of age; or
    (4) Who is less than eighteen (18) years of age, and the actor:
    (a) The victim’s guardian;
    (b) Uncle, aunt, grandparent or step-grandparent, grandparent by adoption; (c) Brother, sister or the whole or half-blood or by adoption;
    (d) Nephew, niece or first cousin.

  • lizziebradbury

    This is an excellent article with a clear definition of the purity culture and the role this plays in not just the Duggar household, but any evangelical patriarchal family/church/cult. I have seen the documentaries on Purity Balls and was stunned. Too disturbing for words.

    I especially appreciated Samantha’s explanation of the power of language and how it can be used to both exaggerate or diminish a situation. I will now only refer to the Duggar case as child sexual assault.

    Another term being used frequently by people of all levels of society and race, is “put your hands on” instead of “assault” or “beat the hell out of”. “Put your hands on” completely and thoroughly diminishes the actual acts of physical assault and abuse. And sadly, it is used to refer to horrific beatings of children as well as women.

    As for the Duggars, due to suppression of all critical thinking I think they are unlikely to understand the power of the language they use to diminish their son’s sexual assault. Very much like Paula Deen was completely confused and dumbfounded that her language (and I’m not talking about her use of the “n” word but rather the whole deposition) revealed her deeply ingrained racist beliefs.

    Samantha, you are a talented writer and an wonderful educator.

  • Sersglen

    I’d like to introduce a seldom discussed concept for consideration as a means of further raising the awareness of the far-reaching impact of a crime. There is a very large group of people who could be identified as “Peripheral Victims,” who have no legal standing and no recourse to pursue remedy for the damage done to their lives. In this case, it’s the other children and extended family who will be splashed with the mud currently being slung.

    Those are the people who woke up that day and were blindsided by the actions of someone outside of their control and which delivered an immediate change to the life they once had and will never return to. As friends begin to pull away and the shaming of the family spills onto the blameless, it’s not possible to know the breadth and how far into the future the impact will be felt. It can only be known by living it. Will the Duggar name forever become a liability for those bearing it as they move through their lives? Will little ones now grow up to find opportunities closed to them by those who wish to stay at arms length from the controversy?

    Being a Peripheral Victim is never a light touch. It’s a painful, helpless and lonely place to be. There are no support systems in place for these other people whose lives are forever changed. They are the forgotten who struggle on in silence with their sense of unfairness and resentment.

    This a call for compassion and extended awareness for the many other people tending their wounds over this.

  • I don’t know if anyone else has clarified or not, but rape does not have to involve penetration to be considered rape. Even if local laws insist on defining rape by virtue of penetration, much work is being done to bring awareness to the shortcoming of that requirement. For all intents and purposes, Josh Duggar is a rapist, and I don’t think we should shirk from calling him that. Anything less almost feels like diminishing the victims’ experience.

    That being said, thank you for sharing this chart and also for calling our attention to the language patterns that enable these behaviors. Well done. I wrote a piece yesterday on these victims, I pray you will stop by my blog as well, at:

    • I try to stick to the federal standards, since stays vary so much and it helps that when I’m citing federal statistics my readers know exactly what I’m talking about.

      According to the FBI, “rape” is defined as any form of sexual penetration– oral, vaginal, or anal, with either body parts or foreign objects. Being forced to penetrate someone is usually talked about seperately in the statistics, but still defined as rape.

      It’s important for credibility that I be as consistent as possible in my terms.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for the insights.

  • I know from what you speak and agree 100% . I was molested by my Father at the age of 12. I grew up to be a very protective parent and two of my children were still molested by two different people (none of them my father).I was overly protective but it still happened. Three out of Five women have been victims of molestation. I worked with abused children and their parents who were going through the court system. I did years of research . My organization and I spoke at many agency’s and churches. We tried to bring molestation to the forefront to make officials realized the permanent damage it does to the child. This subject should be discussed freely so that children will understand that you don’t have to keep it quiet. If we don’t talk about it they won’t tell. If they don’t tell, it won’t stop.

  • “Why did God let this happen” ATI/IBLP clearly lays blame at the feet of the victim. If you were not dressed like a secular whore he would not have touched you.

    First the young girl/woman is dealing with the emotional/spiritual belief that she is now unworthy, and her sense of trust is irrevocably destroyed. Now she is being told that God is the one that let this happen?!

    The one person/deity that that young woman has been clinging to is now party to the most damaging insult to her mind and soul.

    I worked as a social worker before becoming a spiritual director and I have worked with women who have been abused. o matter the age, one thing is clear: Trust is gone. Trust is at the core of us believing the world is safe. That people are basically good. That we have a purpose in this world. That we are lovable, worthy.

    For Josh’s sisters ths is never going to be true again.

  • Meghan

    While we’re giving some much-needed attention to the softening of sexual assault language, let us not forget that in the police report Josh Duggar admitted to “fondling” five little girls. Couldn’t sound sweeter, could it?

  • I wrote a post about this Duggar mess from a different perspective. What would you have done if your son had sexually abused your daughters? Would you have had him arrested?

    • Yes.

      And after he was released from prison he would go through one of Bancroft’s abuser reform programs and I would make damn sure he was never around children without being supervised by educated and trustworthy adults.

      He would never be allowed around my daughters again unless I was absolutely positive they were ok enough to handle it. And not for years. Not until they were adults.

  • Sharon Leonardo

    So the message from ATI/IBLP is clearly: wear a Burqa because the men of our culture are not civilized and in control enough for our women to be safe…..

  • Crystal
  • Bethany

    One more thing I find interesting AND disturbing about this case is Josh’s – plus his parents’ and supporters’ – use of language, while talking about his crime. Never once do they mention the words abuse, assault, consent…no, they use the word “mistake” and “sin” to describe what he’s done. Words are an important factor in minimizing a crime and making it seem lesser than it actually is (bullying can be called ‘harmless teasing’; street harassment can be called ‘eve teasing, sexual abuse can be called ‘a silly mistake’), and when there’s not enough conversation encouraged around something like abuse of any form, it makes it easier for people within that system to sugarcoat what happened, and furthermore make victims feel like they are doing their perpetrators and community and injustice by being ‘bitter’. And what better way to make a survivor look ‘bitter’ than by downplaying what happened to them?

    I remember going for a one-week Catholic retreat camp in my hometown once. I still called myself a staunch Catholic in those days and did everything a good Catholic was required to do, so I bought into a lot of what they were saying, became a part of that mass hysteria and tried not to cringe whenever the preachers said anything sexist or homophobic. After all, I thought, it must be the sinner in me who thinks this is insulting or abusive and these men must surely be blessed by God. But on the last day, one of the preachers described the ‘plight’ of a man who ‘just couldn’t help touching’ his nephews and nieces. He spoke of this man with such sympathy, calling him a ‘poor man’ who needed ‘God’s healing touch’ to ‘rid him of this awful disease’. Absolutely nothing was said about the children he abused – maybe because the preacher didn’t know about them, but very possibly also they weren’t as important to this story as this man’s need for redemption was. Which is why it was probably important to not even mention the word ‘inappropriate, much less ‘molest’, ‘abuse’ or ‘assault’.

    I’ve never gone for another retreat camp since.

    Another point: Many supporters claimed that Josh and his parents were ‘honest’ in their approach to what he did. In fact even Anna mentions that he told her two years before their wedding(?). But even now when the story is out, he will not call what he did by its correct name. Can one really argue that he’s been honest when he refuses to call sexual abuse by its name?

  • pamela niboonkit

    Josh Duggar was a child and I am sure the parents did much more than is being reported. The Duggars prevented Josh from further abusing and that is what all parents should do so young children will no longer be abused. And you ask why was this never reported well!!!!.what makes this whole thing sad is that the children of Josh Duggar will someday read this. The sister posted a pic after this report and they looked radiant just to show people they are emotionally healthy and spiritually healthy. Since they were asleep when he did this I think that is what has saved them from deep emotional scaring. When a person has changed their lives you should never bring up the past. Josh and his sisters are very close and love each other.

    I think In Touch mag needs to tell the public why they found it imperative to report this long ago incident to the readers.
    Josh was becoming a great speaker and backer for the Republican Party and I believe this was politically motivated.

    • You are obviously grossly misinformed about what happened.

      Jim Bob and Michelle let Josh continue to attack their daughters– awake and asleep — for an entire year before they took him to a close family friend in order to get a “stern talking to”– from a man now serving a half-century prison sentence for child pornography!

      Everything about this comment is disgusting. If you keep saying indefensible shit like this you’ll be permanently banned.

    • Bethany

      It still shocks me to this day that one can speak about children being abused and assume their emotional state so flippantly and casually. What do you call it when just about nothing had been done to protect the girls for a whole year? And if you think the “parents did much more than is being reported” then how is it that Josh got the opportunity to harm FIVE children including a child who wasn’t even part of that household? How come the documents were destroyed on the request of someone who is still a minor? Do you really expect me to believe there was zero parental pressure behind that request? Have you even looked at the credentials of the trooper who was giving Josh his stern talking to?

      How is a glow on the face a sign that everything is well? Perhaps you may not even be aware the kind of tightropes children who are abused by family members, and who are forced to keep quiet about it and live with that family, have to walk.

      Take this from a survivor – never, ever, *ever* assume a survivor’s state of mind, whether they have healed or not, or how they should cope. Never presume you know, even if you may have gone through it yourself. It’s not yours to decide.

    • Josh Duggar wasn’t a child. He was a young man. I have 2 teenage sons, 15 and 16. I guarantee they know that they are not allowed to go into little girl’s rooms and touch them sexually. Could you stay asleep if someone hovered over you in your bed and put his hands and fingers all over you? How are you aware of their lack of emotional scarring? There are comments on here from women who have endured the same type of abuse, in religious homes where it wasn’t acknowledged, and they are suffered, are suffering. Read though the comments, read what they are saying.

      And it was reported when it happened – it’s just that by a happy coincidence the cop who took the report didn’t follow through: this cop was sentenced TWO TIMES for having child pornography, and is now serving a 30 year sentence. So, you can see how a story of a kid finger banging a bunch of little girls probably wound up exciting him sexually and not angering him or encouraging him to do his job right. He probably asked on multiple occasions if there was any photographic evidence that he could study closely. BECAUSE THE COP IS A PEDOPHILE TOO. This story was squashed right from the start to protect the family – and not for the right reasons. That Duggar money kept flowing, and I suspect local law enforcement reaped the benefits. It’s called a cover-up.

      I don’t understand how anybody, especially a woman, can try so hard to protect a sexual predator. You’ve excused him for being young, you’ve decided by what you see in posed, scripted magazine pictures and articles that there is no lasting damage to the victims. You think they stayed asleep while a creepy teenage boy had one hand on them and one in his pants… You feel bad for HIM and how this affects HIM. I am telling you, you don’t want an incestuous pedophile guiding policymakers. You don’t want a person like that speaking for ANY political party or backing ANY political candidate. Incestuous pedophiles, ANY pedophiles are BAD. I can’t believe I have to explain that to somebody.

    • ako

      You’re claiming that if a girl wakes up knowing she’s been sexually assaulted, and the perpetrator is someone who is not only bigger, stronger, and (in her family’s culture) in a position of authority, but he lives in the same house and could come back for her at any time, that can’t cause deep emotional scarring? You’re assuming someone who takes a radiant-looking picture can’t be dealing with the aftereffects of trauma?

      I think if someone commits sexual violence against a child, they’re not entitled to demand everyone just stop talking about it. I believe in the capacity to change for the better, but part of changing is accepting that some misdeeds have lifelong consequences. Someone making a good-faith effort to redeem themselves needs to accept that a crime like sexual assault has permanent consequences for the people they hurt, and therefore should have permanent consequences for the perpetrator.

    • I truly hope you’re not being serious. These people are all brainwashed into thinking that everything they do in life is either a test, punishment, or reward from god. This leads them to take no personal responsibility or credit for their actions (good or bad).
      People like you are the reason I believe that religion, since its invention, has been and continues to be the motivating factor behind most of the true evil perpetrated in the world.

      The rapist’s children should be removed from his custody permanently, he should be placed on a sex offense registry and be required, like all other child rapists, to live a certain distance from schools and parks, and inform his neighbors that he may be tempted to prey on their children, so they probably shouldn’t invite him in for a Sunday dinner.

      Even if they prevented him from abusing more children when he was a teenager (which they didn’t), they certainly can’t do anything now that he’s an adult with his own children. Who’s to say the “temptation” has gone away?

      And you can’t say that the victims aren’t emotionally scarred. This is a TV family. They’re used to acting for the cameras. The fact that the audience didn’t know any of this was going on while the show was being aired points to the fact that these people are very good at deceiving the public that everything is just lovely and wonderful and perfect.

      I’m also quite sure these little girls were getting conflicting information. Wouldn’t surprise me if something to the effect of “this is how your brother showed his love for you. It was inappropriate, but god will forgive him” or some other vile crap that the fundies like to spew.

  • Our youth ministries group has been using this mess as an opportunity to go over what is required of us as mandatory reporters. It’s pretty clear that all of the minors involved were failed by the adults in their lives in a major, major way Josh himself is continuing the failure by being evasive in his language. We do not want anything like this to happen on our watch if we can help it.

    One of our youth leaders asked, and I don’t know the answer to this so I’m asking here: if both the victims and the perpetrator were minors at the time, weren’t the records supposed to be sealed? And how can we, as mandatory reporters, have a clue about who to keep an eye on if the records are sealed? One of my friends in high school was raped by a classmate who already had at that point in time three juvenile convictions for sexual crimes, but because the records were sealed, she went into a situation that she would totally have avoided if she had had a clue.

  • Crystal

    More from one favourite website; I would recommend everyone here commented on FA at least once; it’s a very pleasant experience generally:

  • They are practicing Christian sharia law, no American justice system is needed. And, obviously, they value female lives less than their shiny sons of god. If a real cop had taken the report in the first place (instead of the twice convicted child porn cop, what a happy coincidence for them), maybe this would’ve been handled differently, correctly? But I imagine Duggar money in Arkansas can keep things running smoothly for them. I wonder what other secrets their religious cult has.

  • What should they have done? Reported it to the police. A family friend had a similar situation. Her 15 year old son similarly molested his 9 year old sister. He went to juvenile detention and then has been in and out of prison since then because he hasn’t been able to abide by the terms of his parole. It has been difficult on the entire family, but it was the right thing to do because the daughter found out that she is worth protecting, that what he did was wrong, and that the fact that it was her brother and that there had been no penetration did not make it a “mistake” and did not make it ok. Do they wish the son hadn’t gone to juvenile detention and ended up in and out of prison for the past ten years? Absolutely. But a perpetrator should NEVER be protected because their action is not ok, and the victim(s) need to know that they matter and their protection is the most important thing.

    I imagine that all of us reading and commenting on this blog are older than 14 or 15. We know what it is like to be that age. This is not a mistake. A mistake is property damage because you did something without considering the consequences. A mistake is missing your curfew. A mistake is stealing beer from an open garage because you want to drink underage.

    To treat this as a mistake means that the children molested are property, and that all Josh did was wreck their property, so it isn’t a big deal. Other people are not property. Women and children are not property and should not be treated as such.

    So yes. Josh should have been arrested and it should be on his permanent record and he should have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. I hope that there is a person or organization out there who can monitor Josh and anytime he speaks in public or is hired, sends an email or post something reminding the world that Josh is a child molester. Yes, it should follow him for the rest of his life and it should have an impact on him just as his actions will impact his victims for the rest of their lives.

    • if i could, i’d give you a standing ovation. well said.

  • Crystal

    YET fifty shades MORE hypocrisy from this utterly obnoxious family:

    I hope you don’t mind my putting up the articles, and I hope I am being sensitive to anyone being triggered here. I want to keep updating you guys and gals; it’s just horrible and I feel terrible for the girls.

  • Thank you so much for this. I shared it on Tumblr.

  • Lee Robe’rt

    There should not be a statue of limitations on any kind of rape/abuse/molestation! EVER!!! Let’s start there! Josh would probably be in jail right now. Prayers and support for all those involved.

    Lee Robe’rt

    • Crystal

      Fair enough too!

  • Katie

    What really makes me ill are the reports that the victims have “forgiven” Josh. You know those children weren’t allowed to feel angry or betrayed or anything like that. You know it went straight to, “He’s sorry so now you have to forgive him.”

    I try not to be an angry or vengeful person but if there’s anything that makes me want to Hulk out, this does.

  • Reblogged this on flamesword ~ watching in the shadows and commented:
    Yessss alll of this.

  • Anne

    In The New Republic, Garry Wills wrote about his struggle to come to terms with the sins of the Catholic church: Jesus “is the one who said, ‘Whatever you did to any of my brothers, even the lowliest, you did to me.’ That means that the priests abusing the vulnerable young were doing that to Jesus, raping Jesus. Any clerical functionary who shows more sympathy for the predator priests than for their victims instantly disqualified himself as a follower of Jesus. The cardinals said they must care for their own, going to jail if necessary to protect a priest. We say the same thing, but the ‘our own’ we care for are the victimized, the poor, the violated. They are Jesus.”

    So Josh Duggar was sexually assaulting Jesus. And all those fine “Christians” who are defending them have, as Willis put it: “disqualified him[her]self as a follower of Jesus.”

    ’nuff said.

  • Jane

    I’m usually just a post and comment reader, and I don’t want to share my opinion one way or another on the matter, but I HAD to say something because you quoted scripture. What Paul is talking about here is people that blatantly continue said behavior with no remorse or regard– NOT someone who shows repentance and turns from their sin (NOT saying this with any affiliation to josh duggar). Always use scripture in context! 🙂

  • Nana

    I just wonder what Anna, Jim Bob or Michelle are going to do when one of Josh’s little kids come forth and says “Daddy” touched me here and here..It was WRONG then and is STILL WRONG !!!!!!! The victims in this are those little girls he SEXUALLY MOLESTED!!! and they will pay the cost in later years….I would be OUTRAGED if I were there spouses!!!

  • A Bipolar Guy

    I told my children it was not enough to say sorry, you had to “do sorry”, which is everything form thinking a new way and doing a new way in the future, to fixing harm where possible, and facing the consequences

  • The History Boy

    I totally agree with the main thrust of this post, but I do want to push back on point.
    Samantha, I know that words are your living, but I don’t agree that the phrase “childhood molestation” is somehow a sanitized euphemism for “childhood sexual abuse.” It may be that in Spanish the cognate isn’t as loaded, but in contemporary American English, “molestation” really only has one meaning, and it’s the icky kind. Speaking only for myself, on a purely aesthetic level, “childhood molestation” is as ugly a phrase as the act it denotes, whereas I find “childhood sexual abuse” to be far more clinical and detached. YMMV, however.
    Again, on balance, it’s sickening to watch how the Duggars have massaged their language so as to minimize the harm they’ve inflicted. I just don’t agree that the use of the word “molest” is part of that pattern.

    • Talking about language is always complicated, of course. However, I think it’s interesting to see how the word “molest” has changed over time. In 19th and 20th century literature it meant what it still means in Spanish. Today it means “sexually abuse” with us only applying it to pedophiles.

      If it were just “molest” I’d agree with you, but it’s not. Almost any time sexual violence is discussed, the language is soft. “Non-consensual sex” is a good example. They mean rape, but saying rape is too “inflammatory.”

      What Josh did is as bad as rape, but the word we use to describe it used to mean “bother.” That this is a part of a pattern of minimizing sex crimes means that we can’t dismiss any time it happens, no matter how long ago we made the shift.

  • John W. Baker

    What Josh did is actually “off the radar” in a patriarchal, male superiority household. That would also be true for any abuse by any male in that household: father, brother, grandfather, or uncle. That is because loss of virginity is not an offense against her but against the honor of her father’s household. As such, it cannot come from within that household itself. The inability of a household to defend the honor of its women could result in the family being driven out and off their land. Sometimes rape was a means of challenging a household to that end. This has nothing to do with Christianity or any other religion, not Islam, not Hinduism. This system of patriarchal honor, male domination, the double standard, arranged marriages, and victim-shaming is older than any religion. If there was any religion associated with the origins of that system, it centered on human and animal fertility and crops.

    The evidence is that Paul (though not the later authors of Colossians and Ephesians) understood that Christ had changed all that (Gal. 3:28).

  • Lance C. Combes

    You all should take responsibility for what you’ve done and are doing which is abusing those girls whom you claim to support, if you were really sorry you would say ”we have abused those girls by attacking their family against their wishes and continuing despite them asking us to stop, we didn’t take their feelings into account and we have refused to validate anything they have said by writing it off as denial and thereby completely disregarding their words and trying to discredit them instead of letting them have the power to tell their story their own way and to be called what they want to be called” you are all abusing these poor girls who don’t feel like or want to be called ”victims” and now you’ve made them cry [Edited].

    • The end of this comment violated my comment policy, so I’ve removed the violating content and banned this user. Please do not respond to him.