Friday, May 22, 2015

On The Duggars

After a long, LONG silence, I finally feel like I should (or maybe can) come share a post. Mainly, my thoughts - at length - on the hubbub surrounding the Duggar clan and the controversy about the oldest son, Josh.

In case you missed the clusterfuck, it's this group of lovely individuals AND I DON'T THINK THIS IS ALL OF THEM.

I'm sure you know what's going on by now, but in case I need to rehash:

The Duggars are part of the Quiverfull movement, which basically says that 1) men are in charge and women should always be subservient, which includes foregoing secondary education and holding any meaningful job outside the home, 2) the purpose of relationships is for procreation to make a "quiver full of warriors for God", and 3) that children should be taught according to the unquestionably abusive "training" methods akin to the drivel that the Pearls spew (which includes blanket training). They use the opportunity of being homeschoolers to avoid teaching their children meaningful science or any form of sex ed.

Basically, they're already emotionally and mentally abusive, so they've already got that going for them.

Somebody asked Jim Bob to recite all the kids' names. 

So, in other words, this is already a pretty dysfunctional family - and that's ignoring the fact that they do a lot of other things (like courtship) that might have been adorable a hundred years ago but today are pretty unfeasible and allow new couples basically no opportunity to get to know one another.

So yesterday a lot of major media sites started posting articles about how there were allegations that at some point about ten years ago, Josh Duggar may or may not have been involved in the sexual molestation of young girls. At the time, he was a minor touching minors, so everybody kind of played the situation off as bad decision making and likely something that happened between him and family friends.

Then someone said the police report was available, that it was from 2006, and that it mentioned a LOT of interesting points.

Touching little girls: about as American as it gets.

First: The girls that Josh allegedly touched included several of his own sisters and likely a close family friend or other relative who would have had reason to be sharing sleeping quarters with his siblings.

Second: The allegations only came to light after a family friend found a letter in a book they'd borrowed more than a year after the abuse occurred.

Third: The abuse had been reported to authorities but no action had been taken; that being said, the family had supposedly gotten counseling for Josh and for the victims.

And everybody was pretty upset, but, you know, nobody's perfect, he was just a kid, he made a mistake, etc - you know, things that basically let him off the hook. Excuse his actions. He was a kid who made a mistake, right? Because surely a 14 year old can't possibly know that touching another person without that person's consent is wrong. Of course not.

Then things got worse.

Josh admitted it. Which, I mean, that's good, since at that point trying to deny the allegations wouldn't have gone well. But at that point it stops being potential allegations and starts being a lot of fucking truthiness. He admitted the affected girls were several of his sisters and another unnamed individual. He admitted that he told his parents about it, and that he'd been sent to "counseling" which then turned out to have been a family friend for whom he helped out doing house renovations for a couple months during the summer. (No mention of the counseling for the girls, of course.) He said he'd told his dad, who had acted on the recommendations of church elders (mandated reporters, of course), and who had gone on to tell a family friend that also happened to be on the police force (another mandated reporter) who proceeded to do jack shit. Never mind the fact that the "family friend" wasn't informed of this for several years, until well after the statute of limitations on sexual abuse had passed in their state, but that the "friend" handled the whole thing by talking to Josh about the repercussions of his actions and then doing jack shit (later this same authority was arrested on multiple counts of child pornography, so there's that). Josh's wife, Anna, with whom he has three small children and another on the way, admitted that Josh had been open with her about the abuse he'd leveled on his sisters before they had begun courting.

Nothing about whether or not Josh was then kept from being able to access his sisters.

No word on what counseling or support his sisters or the other victim received.

No comment about how it had affected the girls, or if Josh had gone all that time still able to prey on young girls (which one must assume he has, given that he is not segregated from the family and has his own children).

Nothing at all about how this case of incest and sexual abuse needs to be investigated and how the entire family should be individually counseled and these children seriously talked to about what's going on and whether or not any of the rest of them have experienced something similar.

So damn wholesome. If you can ignore the touching little girls part. Oh, look, a little girl.

So now what? Good question. TLC has, luckily, responded appropriately and while they haven't cancelled the show as of this moment, they have pulled it from the air. It's a good very small start but it doesn't account for the health and well being of the children involved - girls who are now nearly adults, or who are teenagers, who are still woefully unaware of their bodies and what they're experiencing, and who have had no real guidance on coming to terms with the abuse they've experienced in their short lives. 

If I can be honest?

Every single one of those kids, from the youngest to the oldest still at home, needs to be removed from that household. I do NOT say that lightly, as I am very aware of the tendency of the law and many Department of Human Services employees who overreact to situations and who remove kids from houses where it is hardly necessary or in their best interest. But here, it needs to happen and FAST.

I consider these necessary weapons of child rescue. Also, it'd be fun to put a good hole in their door.

These kids need to be individually interviewed and counseled. They need to be given age-appropriate sex ed and health information. They need to have the situation explained in the most basic of terms and be told what has happened. 

This includes Josh's kids. The main problem there being that if either is being abused they're too young to vocalize it and share their experiences, and will likely not remember it either. Given that Anna knew Josh's past when they married and still agreed to have kids with an unconvicted, admitted abuser who had never gotten help, I'd say that she'd be willing to hide any evidence or knowledge about anything her husband is currently involved in.

Will there be closure for this family?

It's hard to say. I hope so - I can't even imagine what these girls have endured. Knowing the principles of the movement and the fundamentalist mindset, I'm guessing they were probably told it was somehow their fault for looking or acting in a sexual manner, and that their big brother was completely innocent. But it's hard to say.

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