Friday, June 5, 2015

Dangerous Duggar Denials




It boggles the mind that Michelle and Jim-Bob Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting fame don't understand the danger they pose. And I'm incredulous that certain politicians and media personalities, as well as many in the conservative religious community have rallied around this family in support of their handling of the sexual crimes committed by their then-14-year-old son against 5 young girls, including 4 of his sisters.
But even worse than the Duggar cavalier and arrogant how-dare-you-all-condemn-us mindset is their near-complete disregard for the victims of their son, Josh, and their unmitigated hypocrisy against the LGBT community. 

The Interview:

To my dismay, but not all that surprisingly, Meghn Kelly of the Fox News Network handed one softball after another to the Duggars about their handling of the 2006 sexual abuse incidents by their eldest son in her interview on June 3, 2015. She didn't ask a single tough question.
Instead, she allowed the family head to ultimately declare his outrage that their privacy had been violated. That they were seeking legal advice over the fact that their son's juvenile record had been accessed and made public.
There is just so much to be outraged by THIS family.
They blame girls for the criminal sexual actions of boys and men, citing "a lack of modesty" by girls and women as male "temptation". Of course, since they themselves are so modest and teach their girls to be that way as well, how can they possibly explain the criminal actions of their son?
They don't. Not really. Except to repeatedly refer to his crimes as "improperly touching" or to further minimize what he did by calling it a "mistake".
The Duggars have decreed LGBT people to be child molesters and pedophiles. That children aren't safe around them. And they've done so KNOWING and covering up that their own son was himself a child molester.
I'm still at a loss to explain Jim-Bob's statement of what Josh did to these 5 young girls: "This was not rape or anything like that."
Or his claim that Josh, who is now 27, is not a pedophile because by Jim-Bob logic (and presumably the Mirriam-Webster dictionary definition) in order to be legally considered a pedophile, Josh would have to have been 16 years old when he molested those girls.
Ah yes, the "legal" definition is very convenient to latch onto now that this whole mess has become public and there is outcry over the way it was covered up.
But allow me to point out the fact that Josh molested at least twice again after first admitting to his parents that he had "inappropriately touched" these girls. That speaks to a far different story than what the Duggar patriarch is prepared to accept. Though both patriarch and matriarch are in complete agreement that Josh is now fixed of his urges.
Right.

The Victims:

And what of Josh's victims?
Michelle and Jim-Bob claim that their daughters didn't actually understand what was happening to them. Of course they didn't. They were too young and/or hadn't been taught about sexual abuse.
There is a long list of reasons to be outraged when it comes to this family.
The Duggars minimized what happened to the victims. They defended their criminal son and their subsequent cover up. And they see themselves as victims of an unfair media and Christian haters in this whole affair.
The highly biased Fox News interview on Wednesday was all about appeasing fans of the 19 Kids and Counting series and clearing the way for TLC to reinstate the show.
But the interview has not played well in the public eye. Sure, maybe their diehard fans and political allies will continue to give them a pass, but most of the general public has not. There was considerable social media backlash immediately following the Meghn Kelly interview.
It's hard not to find the Duggar's actions and stances despicable. They are hypocrites of the most dangerous breed. They condemn and cast stones at LGBT without any basis for such denunciations. They believe their faith allows them to convict an entire community of people of heinous acts when no such evidence exists, while they themselves cover up and soft-pedal repeated criminal acts because it was committed by one of their own. 

The Message:

And what about the message sent to the families who follow the Duggars so fanatically?
By virtue of their celebrity status within the far-right Christian community, the Duggar denials come at a great expense to victims. The people who inexplicably continue to hold the Duggars in high regard, take those denials and translate them as a model of how to handle such molestations within a family. The Duggars have schooled an entire group of people that victims of familial sexual abuse, particularly when the abuser is an adolescent, don't matter. Their actions and lack of actions have set us back decades. And that, in my opinion, is one of the most dangerous things about the Duggars.

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