Allegations broke today that Josh Duggar sexually assaulted several of his female siblings when he was a teenager. The link to the story is below. Only moments ago, Josh acknowledged his wrongdoing and has resigned from this position with the Family Research Council. Here are a few thoughts:
1) My heart breaks for the victims. Their innocence was taken, and by a person they should have been able to trust. It is heart wrenching. May the God of all peace grant them peace.
2) As sad as it is, this situation is not statistically surprising. According to the Darkness to Light organization, about 90% of child victims know their abuser; only 10% of abusers are strangers to their victims. On the whole, approximately 30% of abusers are family of their victims. The younger the victim, the more likely that the abuser is a relative. For victims under age six, the rate rises to 50%.
3) If I don’t let my daughters come to a sleepover at your house, it’s not personal. Your feelings are infinitely less important to me than the innocence of my daughters. I’m unapologetically protective.
4) You better talk to your kids, so your kids know they can talk to you. Maintain a relationship with your kids so they know they can trust you. If you yell at your children when they spill milk, they’re not likely to open up to you when a predator molests them and tells them to keep it a secret.
5) The Duggar’s strict external rules didn’t stop depravity from striking in their own home. They didn’t have cable. They make their daughters dress modestly. They had a family code word (“Nike”) that signaled the boys to look down whenever an immodestly dressed girl would walk by. Duggar kids aren’t allowed to date (in the generally accepted usage of the term), or kiss before marriage. That’s their family ethos, and it’s fine. The problem is that fallenness found them anyway. Sin can thrive even under the apparent protection of modern-day Puritanism. Our world is broken. God help us.
6) Initial reports implied that when Jim Bob and Michelle learned of the multiple incidents of molestation, they sent their son, the alleged perpetrator, away to spend time with a mentor out of town. Whatever guidance the mentor may have offered, the young man needed professional help. The teenage perpetrator AND his victims desperately needed professional counseling, and probably still do. Josh’s statement this afternoon indicates that the family did in fact secure counseling for both Josh and his victims.
7) I’m not saying this is what the Duggar family did, but please get this: do not sacrifice your child’s wholeness on the altar of your own public image. It could have cost the Duggar family their television show to get professional help for those poor girls, and for their son who victimized them. No family would want a tragedy like that to go public. But when fallenness invades your home, sacrifice whatever it takes to help the victims heal.