We knew about Josh Duggar's sexual abuse for years, but out of caution and what little respect we had for his family, we didn't carry on about it beyond murmurings on FreeJinger. If we didn't know, we highly speculated. For my part, I had heard the rumors, especially when researching for this post in 2011, but a serious allegation like that wasn't substantive enough for me to include.
Free Jinger, indeed. And Jessa. And Joy Anna. And Jana. And all of the other J-littles.
And by "we", I mean those of us who are familiar with fundamentalist Christian homeschooling, especially the people in ATI and Vision Forum and other cults of personalities.
I was never a Gothardite. For all the wrongs my parents did, that was one thing they got right (even if only by the virtue that we were Catholic and those guys were poor, errant Protestants.) But I vaguely knew that some of my fellow homeschoolers were in the Gothard cult. Including one guy who "accidentally" killed his wife when he pointed a real gun at her and pulled the trigger. That guy expressed his remorse in the same sort of way that Josh did--that is, very self-focused and self-serving.
But we knew enough about it. Either we stumbled across information about it or we knew people who were in it or we were actually neck-deep into the shit, but slowly, we gathered on the Internet to talk about it. Homeschoolers Anonymous is one particularly excellent resource that provides a central place for sharing the stories, and there are many other individual blogs.
Talking about it sheds light on the problem. It facilitates healing. Helps us to know we're not alone.
The complete opposite of Gothard's "counseling" tips for someone who was a victim of sexual abuse. ("Would you rather have your body be hurt, or have no soul?")
That doesn't get into the comments I had on my post, of people who somehow still believe that because they look and act normal and well-adjusted, doesn't mean they weren't abused. They just know how to look and act normal and well-adjusted.
I knew how to look and act normal and well-adjusted (except for some horrific teen years when I dressed awfully because I didn't like how I looked.)
We, the guardians of children on the Internet, spoke up. And kept speaking up. And will continue to speak up, until the world hears us and authorities take action.
To the Duggars and other ATI-ers--there is a whole community of ex-ATIers and other supporters who are here to listen--whenever you're ready.
Filed under: Abuse