There is a long list of things I would like to say about the Duggar family. They amazed me in their original TLC special- before the show, back when it was about sixteen kids, and they built their own house, together, as a family. I was moved. I was impressed. I was humbled.
...I was also pregnant for the first time, and thinking to myself, "How in the Hell can she do that? I've only been pregnant the once and OMG IT SUCKS BALLS."
Then they got their own show, and I was immediately depressed each time it came on. Because here were these sweet, bright kids, and... they were being stifled. Willfully turned away from education and facts. Isolated from the last two centuries of knowledge. And worse, crammed into outdated gender roles that made my flesh crawl for them, especially the girls.
After an episode where the family went to the creation museum, and a bright, smiling tween daughter talked about how NOW she knows that all that science and evolution stuff is nonsense, I couldn't bear to turn it back on. Ever again.
Oh, I worried for the girl.
But I never worried for her as much as I have since the revelations about Josh Duggar and his very unfortunate sins came to light.
Each time I see a statement from his parents, where they talk about how sorry he is, and how unfortunate it is that this horrible thing happened to him, and how he's moved past it... I want to find that preteen girl and take her somewhere safe.
Josh Duggar, before the age of eighteen, raped* four of his younger sisters.
There is a man out there, whose parents are standing up to defend him against a public outcry of shock and indignation, but who is standing up for their daughters?????
They are so sad that he is going through this. I am sickened.
I am sickened on behalf of those four victims, who every day have to live with his presence in their lives, and to feel that they are not victims- they are somehow in the wrong. They have somehow hurt their brother by having been assaulted by him. They have somehow hurt their family by being assaulted by their brother. They are learning through every word and every movement and every passing smile on their parents' faces, that they do not matter. Not in comparison to the boy children. Not in comparison to the older man who abused them.
They don't matter in the face of poor Josh's troubles.
He says he's been forgiven by God, but I want to know whether he's dared ask those girls for forgiveness.
Or if they would dare answer honestly. If they could even bear to speak.
If I could speak to those girls, I would say this:
You have been lied to your whole life. You are worth so much more than this. You have value. You have worth. You are smart, capable, marvelous people, full of potential. And it is a crime that you have been harmed in this way. You do not owe your brother anything. Not your affection, not your forgiveness, and not even your time. You deserve justice, and you deserve hope. You are not dirty, or wrong, or broken because of this. You are strong, and you can heal.
This, this awful thing that has happened in America's favorite Quiverful family, it's not an awful thing that has happened. It is exactly what happens when you live you life around a set of ideals that are blatantly sexist and degrading. When you raise boys believing that they are superior to girls, that girls are to submit to the men in their lives, this is what happens. When you raise girls to believe they must submit to the men in their lives, this is what happens. And it's not just a matter between a teenaged boy and his pastor and his God, it's a matter of a human being who has been made into a victim, and her needs are what are important.
I hope somebody is helping those girls get emancipated from that toxic family. I hope somebody is finding them counseling, teaching them to support themselves and care for themselves. I hope somebody is helping them learn to help themselves.
And I hope that although Josh Duggar is perfectly content that he's not heading to Hell, somebody out there is doing what they can to ensure that at the very least he rots in jail.
*Rape is defined as penetration of any orifice by a body part or foreign object without consent. That means digital penetration of a minor is rape. Oral penetration of a minor is rape. Whether or not we know what Josh Duggar specifically did to his sisters, sexual contact with a minor is rape. So, yes, he's a rapist.
Read more about my crusade against sexual assault here: The Difference You Don't Know Between Normal and Right
Read my latest post here: Why Marry Someone Who Doesn't Make You Happy?
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