I have been watching the TLC reality show, 19 Kids & Counting, for a while now and the news that the eldest of the 19 children, Joshua Duggar, molested some of his siblings when he was young does not really shock me.
When I first began watching Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children I had very mixed feelings.
On one hand I envied them the sheer number of people surrounding them who loved them and were there for them. I found myself thinking, wistfully, that having 18 brothers and sisters would surely mean you would have at least one or two best friends amongst them. They all seemed so close it was easy to imagine each one of them had 18 best friends and I was drawn to that fantasy.
On the other hand, I watched them with suspicion, it all looked too good to be true and it did not match the reality of the world I know.
In the world I know one in three girls and one in five boys is sexually abused before the age of 18 and those figures are based on CONVICTIONS! They do not include accusations that were never proven or accusations that were never MADE. Most targets of abuse never tell the authorities and way too many never tell anyone! Some don’t even KNOW they were abused! They think they were lucky or they suppress the memories. Some, usually boys, even think they should THANK their abuser for “educating” them!
According to those statistics it was pretty much guaranteed that AT LEAST three of the girls and AT LEAST two of the boys would be molested by someone at some point before they turned 18.
I read somewhere that Jim Bob rode shotgun on the crew when they first began filming and he never left any of them alone with the children. I gather he eventually relaxed his vigilance but anyone who wants to molest children will patiently wait until an opportunity arises. When a chance presents they are swift, fearless, and are prepared to take absolutely breathtaking risks of being caught to get their jollies.
Two molesters I had the misfortune to meet molested me and my deceased sister under a blanket whilst other children were in the same room with us and our mother was in the next room! The one who molested my sister even ARGUED when his wife told him to let my sister go!
I’m not accusing any of the crew of doing anything but I can’t help wondering where Josh got the idea to touch his sisters on their sex organs? Most adolescents get the idea from somewhere – books, movies, TV, schoolmates – Josh had none of these.
Think back to your own first experiences with sex. I bet someone was the trigger! A picture, a movie, a book, a neighbour, a schoolmate, a molester, a boy or girlfriend – SOMEONE gave you the idea and, usually, helped you experiment afterwards.
Those of you, mostly male I’m guessing, who did not get introduced to sex by someone probably touched themselves, liked it, continued doing it and that was their first experience.
If Josh was touching HIMSELF I’d believe it was a natural result of teenage hormones. If he was getting other children to touch him I’d believe it was his hormones but he was touching the girls in a way that was unnatural for his age. It implies he was imitating something he had seen being done to a girl. Josh was acting out foreplay and touching them was unlikely to be giving Josh anywhere near as much of a thrill as he would have gotten from having THEM touch HIM!
So where did he get the idea from? There are a LOT of possibilities.
1. A girl from the annual home schooling conferences or one of the families the Duggars socialised or went to church with may have started it.
Children who have been molested often try to make sense of what has happened by acting out sexually with other children and this may have happened to Josh. I have no doubt he came into contact with molested girls and boys in those large families they socialised with. Don’t forget – one in three girls and one in five boys are PROVEN IN COURT to have been molested!
NONE of the dozens of people I counselled for childhood sexual abuse ever reported it. My sister didn’t and nor did I. The real state of affairs when it comes to these statistics, I’m certain, is that children who are NOT molested are actually a lucky minority!
2. An older woman may have molested him and he tried to make sense of the abuse by acting out what she made him do to her with his sisters.
Females molest children too! We don’t have any figures on that because the targets of female molestation, if they are male, tend to grow up thinking the girl did them a favour so it rarely gets reported. On the rare occasions it does get reported the authorities often think the kid “got lucky” and don’t take it seriously anyway.
3. He may have witnessed children molesting other children, adults molesting children, or teens experimenting with sex and acted out what he saw with his sisters.
When it comes to children it’s “Monkey see, Monkey do” which is why it is illegal to expose underage children to sex in any form. If you have sex in front of children you are breaking the law and if you let them watch sex videos or see pornography you are also breaking the law. Children frequently “act out” what they see if they don’t fully understand it and this is why paedophiles groom children with pornography. (It’s also an excellent way to make the child take responsibility for the abuse that happens after they express their curiosity.)
4. The last guess, and the one I think is most likely the truth, is that Josh simply witnessed adults indulging in foreplay and decided to copy them.
Josh was the Duggars first born. Jim Bob and Michelle were youngsters themselves at the time of the offenses. Jim Bob was just 26 and Michelle only 25 years old when Josh committed these crimes and I am betting they were not aware of exactly how curious or sneaky children can be. At the time of the offenses Jim Bob and Michelle were living with 13 children in a three bedroom, two bathroom house. Jim Bob was in his lusty prime and Michelle has made it clear she believes a wife should never refuse her husbands requests for sex.
Did they know it is illegal to perform sex acts in front of children? Many people don’t realise that. Perhaps, at 26 and with no camera’s to worry about, Jim Bob was even more frisky with Michelle in public than he is now?
Is that where Josh got the idea to grab his sisters breasts and genitals? From public displays or from peeking around the door and watching Jim Bob grabbing at Michelle? Is that where he got the idea it was OK to grab at girls? Did Michelle give him the idea that girls ALWAYS like/want that attention by never saying no to Jim Bob? Did the targets of his abuse take their cue from her too and think they had to feign sleep and allow the behaviour?
Jim Bob constantly leans forward to kiss Michelle on the lips and, almost without fail, her instinct is to pull away from him and reject the kiss. He pauses, she has second thoughts, the kiss is bestowed but the viewer is left in no doubt that only one of them WANTED the kiss. Jim Bob likes to assert his ownership of Michelle and she submits.
It’s a very unhealthy message to their sons and daughters as it says what he wants takes priority over what she wants.
That makes it very unsurprising that 12 or 13 year old Josh felt what he wanted was more important than what the girls he molested wanted and, in fact, it amazes me that any of the girls had the massive amount of courage it would have required to object and tell on him.
In one early episode of their show, filmed when they were in the house where the molestation occurred, the children were asked to recite rules of the house and one of them was not to speak ill of other people. I doubt you could speak more “ill” of your sibling than saying he was molesting you so I am amazed any of them told on him at all!
Is Joshua Duggar a paedophile?
For the record – I categorically do NOT believe Josh is a paedophile.
Contrary to popular belief paedophiles are not born – they are made – other paedophiles make them and not every target of a paedophile becomes one themselves! True paedophiles view children as a kind of third sex. In the same way gay’s are not attracted to the opposite sex, paedophiles are not attracted to adults, and they can’t substitute anything or abstain from children either which is why they can’t be cured any more than gay’s can be cured. They go to prison, are released, and do it again – you can’t “scare them straight”.
Josh apparantly has left children alone since the paedophile officer friend of Jim Bob’s told him what would happen to him if he didn’t stop. If he really was a paedophile he could not have stopped and he would have been caught over and over and over again – he’d have MUCH fresher accusations against him than the ones that triggered this scandal!
People talk as if the paedophile officer would have encouraged Josh but there is no chance of that. I’m betting he recited every single nightmare he ever had about what would happen to him if he got caught and that it did scare Josh straight.
(The paedophile officer friend of his father, however, is a good place to look for who may have molested Josh if anyone did.)
I’ve always believed that children in charge of children is a recipe for disaster and that’s the other reason I was sceptical about the Duggars.
My own experience as the eldest of five children and the experiences of many people I have counselled has left me with the firm conviction that putting children in charge of children is actually abusive to both parties. It puts them both at risk of harm. The child in charge is at risk of becoming abusive and it puts the children in their care at risk of being abused.
How is becoming an abuser abusive to the perpetrator? Here’s how.
Being a good parent requires unselfishness, self-restraint, impulse control and empathy and those are qualities it usually takes years to develop if, in fact, we ever do develop them! Some youngsters are naturally unselfish, restrained, cautious and empathic but those are the exceptions. Pretty much zero pre-teen children have those qualities. Very few teenagers have them. Even most people in their 20’s don’t have them and, in fact, there are plenty of people in their 30’s 40’s, 50’s and older who do not have those qualities! Some people actually live their whole lives out and even die without ever having learned to put others ahead of themselves, to control their impulses, or to take responsibility for their actions and their lives.
Check the news headlines. Day in and day out we see the most horrific examples of full grown adult people who did not have enough unselfishness, self-restraint, impulse-control or empathy for their offspring to avoid harming them.
Children dying in hot cars because parents impulse to go gamble or shopping won out over the child’s right to be cared for properly. Selfish parents who murder their children to prevent the other parent from leaving and taking the children away with them. Drug addicts who fail to notice their children are starving to death – literally. You know what I am talking about. It’s a sad fact that the list of atrocities committed against children by people who are old enough to procreate is endless.
To put a child in the position of having to parent their siblings is to put the older child at risk of becoming abusive and the younger children at risk of being abused. I know this because, as the eldest of five children, I was put in charge of my siblings and I abused them. I was in a position of power and I used it to their detriment until I was 14 years old. I did try not to be mean to them but I just couldn’t stop myself sometimes.
I knew what I was doing was wrong and I didn’t like myself much because of it but, most of the time, I just resented them. I regularly got punished for their misdeeds on the grounds that, as the eldest, I should have stopped them. I missed out on going places because I had to look after them or they needed something I had more than me or my mother wanted me to “Be a big girl and let the baby have it”. It all added up to me carrying around a simmering well of resentment that meant I just didn’t have enough patience or self-control to stop myself when their nagging, crying, and persistent demands to be served overwhelmed me. I’d lose my temper and lash out until they backed off and left me alone. If I was bored I would poke them with words or shoves until they reacted and I could punish them for lashing out at me.
I was mean to them and I hated myself for it but I had no self-control or patience and I couldn’t stop no matter how hard I tried. At 14 my disgust for myself contributed to my decision to run away from home. It wasn’t the only reason I ran away but I didn’t like the way I treated my siblings and I figured they would be safe from me if I didn’t live with them any more.
This is why I feel putting children in charge of children is abusive to both. The child in charge is given power when they are not old enough to handle it and they may act in ways that will cause them shame for the rest of their lives and cause trauma to the children in their care as well as set both of them up for failure in later years.
Watching Jim Bob and Michelle make their children accountable for each other filled me with misgivings but I thought maybe the world I know isn’t the only world there is. Maybe, if God is in the picture from day one, things can be different. If parents are loving and Godly and they spend lots of time loving and training their children, I thought, maybe what I know of humanity won’t be true for them.
Now the hope has died.
I was right. Human nature is what it is and you can’t stamp it out with preaching. They have to CHOOSE to let it go and they can’t do that until they have aged enough to have genuinely developed some of the aforementioned qualities.
Jim Bob and Michelle were abusing their children by making them parents before they were old enough and Joshua is proof. He has abused his siblings because he was not monitored and opportunities and power were given to him that he was not old enough to manage wisely. The Duggar children are ALL currently paying a VERY high price for Michelle and Jim Bob’s failure to take full responsibility for the children they brought into this world.
God promises us, in Proverbs 22:6, that we can “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.
When he is OLD he will not depart from it. God knows children need some years to be able to go in the direction He wants them to go. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar failed to realise this but they were pretty young themselves so I don’t think it’s fair to point any fingers of blame at them. How could they have known?
Not up to now. From now on, however, they must take responsibility for the mistakes they make and I would like to direct the next part of this long winded opinion piece directly to Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar.
A message for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar as well as their Children.
How many times does God have to tell you “NO” before you will listen to Him Jim Bob?!
You had your time in politics and God saw it was not good for you so He said “No” to your following attempts to gain office.
He also said “No” to your children’s attempts to engage in politics and still you persisted in trying to get involved with, and influence, politics. You were not called by God to involve yourself in politics. Your insistence on doing it YOUR way has brought great shame and ridicule down on God as will always happen when Christians move outside God’s will for them.
Now, instead of hearing what God is saying, you are trying to undo the damage and put things back the way they were before the scandal broke. You want the scandal to blow over, you want people to forgive as God forgives, you want things to go back to what has become “normal” for you.
Don’t you know that cannot happen? The enemy has ammunition now and they will never stop firing at you. The world does not forgive Christians and it certainly does not forget. The enemy will surround true child molesters, rapists, even murderers with support and the world will happily forgive them (especially if they are famous sporting figures) but let a Christian slip and there is NO going back!
Someone told the magazine about the accusations. Someone convinced the magazine that the crimes of a child should be dealt with in the same way the crimes of an adult would be dealt with. Juvenile records are supposed to remain sealed but someone opened them and I suspect that person got paid to do it.
You have enemies who have made it their mission to destroy your witness. It has taken them a long time but they have found a weak spot in your armour. They will not stop now until your witness is as dead and lifeless as a corpse and they will spare none of your family – not even your grandchildren – on the way to that goal.
The enemy will destroy them, all of them, without blinking. Have you not seen that? The world is attacking your family like a pack of ravenous wolves and they will not stop trying to tear you all limb from limb for as long as you put yourselves within their reach.
Your time in the media is over. You can no longer spread God’s word in that way for the enemy has tainted your testimony. You need to retreat and wait on the Lord. Take care of each other, tend to those whom this has wounded, rest beneath the wings of God and give the world no further access to your family.
I hear you are going to do an interview and talk about what happened but hear me now, it will do NO GOOD, you will merely be giving the world more ammunition with which to savage your family. Every word you say will be twisted to present you in the worst possible light and the harder you fight to regain what has been lost the more you will lose!
Perhaps even your grandchildren! There are those who want them taken from Josh to protect them from him.
If you read this then God has brought you to this site to tell you these things. You will not listen, you may even not see it before you do the interview, but if these words prove prophetic and your interview does make things worse then take heed and remove yourselves from the enemies reach. Let the media circus go on without you!