I've long said that I couldn't wait for some kind of ridiculous scandal to undo the Duggars. What I'd always envisioned was the kids writing tell-all books about their parents and the brain-washing they were subjected to. Never in my wildest hopes did I want anything bad to happen to any of them and honestly, the news that broke yesterday gutted me on behalf of those affected. Sadly, it has come to light that Josh Duggar allegedly molested five underage girls when he was a teenager. The wording of the police report suggests they were family and odds are high it was his very own sisters. I am nauseated for the victims and I don't want to add to their pain. I won't be mocking anyone and please know I'm taking this very seriously. That said, here are my thoughts on this shocking news.
First of all, the facts. After the police report came out stating what occurred, Josh resigned from his post with hate group Family Research Council. I would guess at this point, his political career is no longer happening and to that, I say good riddance. He has given a statement to People:
"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends," Josh, 27, tells PEOPLE in a statement. "I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."
According to the police report, these "inexcusable actions" include the alleged sexual molestation (fondling of the breasts and genitals) of five female minors in Jim Bob Duggar's home. InTouch got a copy of the report via the Freedom of Information Act. As it turns out, Jim Bob did not alert authorities right away but instead, informed church elders of Josh's actions and it was decided he would do physical labor and counseling, whatever that means. Michelle later told police it was not really counseling and that Josh was simply sent to the home of a family friend who worked remodeling homes. It sounds like they did not take this seriously at all, which is not terribly shocking, but still, disgusting.
To top it all off, the Arkansas state trooper Jim Bob finally took Josh to see in wake of these incidents (months after) is now doing time in prison for child pornography possession. He let Josh off with a "stern" talking to. Jesus Christ. These girls were failed by everyone.
So, there we have it. The scandal. To me, the show needs to end here. Jim Bob and Michelle have proven themselves to be awful humans and they no longer deserve a platform of any kind for their lies and hate. I do find it tragically funny that Michelle did that robo call about transgender folks using the proper bathrooms out of concern for the safety of women and girls. Under her own roof, her son was allegedly sexually abusing members of his own family. Amazing.
We need to talk about how Jim Bob and Michelle (and their kind) raise their children in regard to sexuality and shame. The fact that masturbation is considered a sin and sex is probably never discussed outside of it's place in a marriage. The guilt and shame they associate with sexual acts is clearly damaging to their children. The fact that these alleged victims probably thought it was somehow their fault for "tempting" their abuser (because Michelle has made quite clear that this rests on the shoulders of women and girls -- making sure not to tempt the menfolk) is completely deplorable and sad.
I will NEVER excuse what Josh did -- he is a vile piece of garbage and chances are, he would have done it regardless of his upbringing, but the way sex is treated in that home certainly wouldn't help matters and that is something Jim Bob and Michelle need to answer to. That, and the fact that they don't seem terribly concerned about the damage this caused to Josh's victims. Only that getting through this ordeal brought their family "closer to the Lord". These people are sick and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I may choose not to cover them anymore after this. I don't want to give them more headlines. I don't want to further them in any way. But I couldn't be silent on this matter. All I am thinking of now is those girls -- hoping that somewhere along the way, they will get the help they need to work through this.
Looking at Josh's apology, it's disturbing how he doesn't mention any hopes for his alleged victims and their recovery, only that he has the Lord now. It seems like no one is worried about the long-term damage that may have been done, only that Jesus forgives Josh and he can move on with life. It's unreal.
To top it all off, TLC is running a 19 Kids and Counting marathon right now. Really, TLC? Is this one last push to profit from these sickos before you have to take them off the air? Out of sensitivity for those involved and abuse victims everywhere, that never should have happened. Way to show no concern whatsoever for these girls.
All I can hope now is that somehow, these girls will be taken care of. When Michelle says they received "counseling", I definitely don't buy it since that was a lie for Josh but I truly hope someone with their head on straight at TLC does the right thing and offers it. If these alleged victims were his sisters, maybe that could explain why Jana is in no eager hurry to get married. She could have healing to do that no one even knows about. Let's just all focus on their healing and hope that someone, somewhere, does right by them.
UPDATE: TLC has pulled all future airings of 19 Kids and Counting. No word on long-term plans, but the marathon previously scheduled and all other airings have been removed from the line-up.
(Image: Anna Duggar Instagram)