I try to stop myself from writing opinionated blog posts, because I am not an expert on any one subject (except Harry Potter) but I have found myself researching and reading and becoming increasingly more angry at the Josh Duggar molestation issues in the media.
For those of you that don’t know, although I would guess everyone does, Josh Duggar, of 19 Kids and Counting on TLC (now removed from syndication) was recently outed as having molested multiple girls as a teenager, some of those girls being his siblings.
Josh’s father, Jim Bob, became aware of Josh’s behavior and, after speaking with church elders, sent Josh to a “rehabilitation program” which was, in fact, not a legitimate rehabilitation program.
Are you wondering about the victims? As of now, there is no record of any of the victims receiving any treatment. Possibly because the teachings of the Duggar religion places the blame on the victims.
There are already numerous posts and articles discussing this and there’s really no need for me to type 5 pages about how disturbing this whole situation is (although — I could. I really could type 5 pages).
Let me just make some points here. Here’s what you need to take from this scandal.
1. Your Kids Aren’t Safe
I’m not being dramatic. Your kids are not safe in this world, from anyone. I worked for a year as an investigator at the Department of Social Services, and, let me tell you, I still have nightmares. I still feel sick and worried when I think about the things that I saw and the way kids were treated by parents, teachers, doctors, siblings… the list goes on.
You don’t need to be the most paranoid and anxious person on the planet, but you need to understand that you better be damn sure you trust whoever is around your kids.
You need to address safety with your kids. You must. You must teach them good touch vs. bad touch and stranger danger and to follow their instincts when something doesn’t feel right. Most importantly, you must make sure they are comfortable coming to you if something happens to them. And you must make sure you are available for them to talk to.
Do not don your rose-colored glasses and skip around like the world is a nice place. It’s not. It doesn’t matter if the conversations make you uncomfortable and your kids say, “I know, I know”, you keep telling them the right thing to do if they are in danger or if someone is hurting them.
Now, I don’t think you should traumatize your children. I understand the sanctity of a child’s innocence, and I firmly believe they should stay as innocent as possible as long as possible. But you must find a way to make sure they remain safe.
If this isn’t your TOP priority, then I question why you had kids.
2. Be Wary of Authority Figures
Josh’s parents should have alerted the proper authorities as soon as they learned what was happening to these girls. I’m sorry that it’s their son. I am truly sorry. I’ve had this talk with parents, where they scream and yell and tell you their child would NEVER do what has been proven they’ve done.
The church elders should have alerted the proper authorities. I’m sorry it was a member of their faith. I’m sorry they may be embarrased or ashamed or dodging bad publicity. Nothing trumps the safety of children.
The police officer who was eventually told should have done his job. He is now in jail for child pornography charges, but he should have done his job. A “stern talking to” is not acceptable. A slap on the wrist is not acceptable.
The cop was a mandated reporter. A report should have been filed IMMEDIATELY with social services.
With all the hullabaloo in the news these days about the serious, serious danger of the behavior of some bad-seed cops, I’m afraid people are likely to shrug off a little lapse in mandated reporting.
What if it was your daughter?
Be wary of authority figures. They are human, and some of them are bad, bad people, and they do NOT always do what is required of them.
3. Don’t Follow a Church / Religion / Book Blindly
Corrupt people exist in all walks of life. Pedophiles, spouse-abusers, kid-abusers, thieves, and morally corrupt folk walk past you on the street and you don’t even know it.
Please, please, please do not follow any one leader or religion or church to the point of no return. Everyone sitting next to you on Sunday isn’t perfect. Your preacher isn’t perfect.
Those church elders deserve to be punished for withholding information about child molestation. Look how many kids were in that house with Josh Duggar. Look how many kids were at risk of being victimized and molested by Josh Duggar.
Do not block out common sense and safety and your intuition just because you adhere to a certain religion.
If you need to believe in something, go ahead. But be aware that your religion, church, preacher, deacon, or whomever does not excuse any bad behavior of yours.
While we’re at it, you also cannot “grow closer to God” and have only His forgiveness for illegal actions. You should never be under the impression that your religion places you above the law.
4. NEVER Blame the Victim. EVER.
Most of y’all will never look a sexual assault victim in the face and ask them to recount their story. Be grateful for that.
Let me make one thing really, really clear here.
It is NEVER the victim’s fault. It is NEVER the child’s fault.
I don’t care if you have 28973 Bible verses or 20983 quotes from your preacher or 12987423 answered prayers from God himself telling you it’s the victim’s fault. It’s not.
Anyone, and I mean anyone, who would ignore or dismiss this very basic concept should not be allowed to raise children or hold any position of authority. Ever.
In my opinion, in a fair and safe world, no children should be left in that home with Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar. They displayed zero protective capacities in terms of their youngest and most vulnerable children. I can only rely on my investigative experiences, but as a caseworker there is a 0% chance that I would advocate that parents with no protective capacities, who allowed a molester to live in their home, be able to maintain custody of their children. I’m not speaking for any department specifically, just for myself and what I would feel was right to do as a former caseworker.
If you’re wondering why I feel the right to make such strong statements, and to proclaim them as fact and as sound advice, the answer is this: I’m using common sense. You don’t have to agree with everyone and everything all the time. But when it comes to the safety of children, the dangers of the world we live in, and the disturbing trend of blindly following any religion, I feel like I’m on point.
I’m not advocating for everyone to panic and walk around in a bullet-proof vest and never let their kids go outside. I’m saying that, if you take anything from this messed up situation, let it be that you can do better for your kids than the Duggars did for theirs.
I don’t know what else, if anything, will come from this Josh Duggar scandal. I would guess that TLC will pull the show. I hope they do. I know that the statute of limitations has run out for any type of legal action against Josh Duggar. That is sickening, but unfortunately true.
I can say that I hope that people learn from this scandal. I hope that the girls find their way out and find their own voice and find a way to receive treatment and counseling. And I hope that Josh and his parents lay awake at night burdened by the guilt of their actions.