- photo from Mt. Nebo Arkansas, taken in 2012.
Because I work at a psychiatric hospital, I spend time with kids who have been victims of sexual abuse. And with kids who have been perpetrators of sexual abuse. All of them have had awful things happen to them in life. This may surprise some, but I worry for Josh Duggar. Suicide must have crossed his mind in the last couple of days. I fear for him, for his wife, and especially for his kids. Josh Duggar was a minor when what we know to have happened occurred. I am glad that the Duggars will no longer have a show about their family. That is a good thing that has come from these public revelations. But I am not comfortable with the media publicizing the mistakes that a child made. This strikes me as a very dangerous thing, and cruel.
Josh Duggar grew up in a home that was close to Bill Gothard. Gothard had to resign from his ministry because he fondled at least 32 girls. The Duggars were also connected with Doug Phillips, who was forced from his ministry after being outed as a sexual predator. The pastor of the Duggars' church, the man who gave Mrs. Duggar her Mother of the Year award, resigned after a sex scandal. The highway patrolman, a family friend and an elder in a church connected to the Duggars' religious circles, who was the first law enforcement person Jim Bob Duggar reported Josh's issues to, is now serving a 56 year prison sentence for child porn. Josh Duggar grew up in a home that revered men in leadership who have turned out to be sexual abusers. One way or another, Josh Duggar did to his sisters what he knew (intuitively or directly) to do.
Anyone who assumes that sexual abuse in the Duggar household begins and ends with Josh is living in a TLCesque unreality world. I hope that Josh Duggar may see his life as full of worth and wonder, found safe in God (but not the god of the Duggars), with some thread of dignity that can get through this unbelievable humiliation. And God protect the children living in the various Duggar households.
This sin is disgusting. All sin is disgusting. Josh Duggar isn't any more disgusting than you or me. He's no different than the kids I eat my meals with at work, who also come from very messed up families. I would hate to see any of them become the laughingstock of the world, and a "proof" of everything we hate about their kind of people. I think we might do well to offer kind words to and about Josh Duggar. This world is dirty, messy, hateful, unfair, and brutal. What the boy did was in keeping with the world around him, as he had experienced it. Let's not kick a person who is down.
If we are to point fingers, I would start with those who profited by upholding his family to the public as exemplary and worthy of attention. I would then turn to Josh Duggar's parents, who agreed to that public life, to that money, and who embraced a perverse religion, a contemptible patriarchy, and lord only knows how many lies and cover-ups.