Wednesday, May 27, 2015

On the Duggars. Yep. I'm Going There.

I've been so torn about posting this, because I'm not really a fan of jumping on the hot topic bandwagon or dipping my toes into the controversy of the week--but over the past few days I have seen ALL THE PERSPECTIVES floating around the internet, from the "Crucify Him!" to the "God forgives and will make whole," and I just want to say a few things.

(Yeah, I'm talking Josh Duggar. Sorry)


You know the story, so I'm not going to link. If not, Google it. Read a few articles--there are a million different opinions on what happened and what should (or shouldn't) be done about it.

I just want to get my thoughts out into the world, and the most important is this:

I want the girls Josh assaulted to Be. Okay.
I want them to have a fighting chance to overcome this.

Because the Duggars, as a family, put "purity" on an impossibly high pedestal, preaching boys and girls who engage in pre-marital sexual behaviors of any sort are unholy and defiled. They are a family that equates these behaviors with a roomful of people spitting into a glass and then asking the last to drink from it. 

[Not kidding--apparently it's in one of their books. Personally? I only know the "chewed gum" analogy-- that no "good" boy wants a piece of pre-chewed gum on his wedding night. (The girls are the chewed gum, in case you didn't catch that.)]

Because it's not the boys who bear the brunt of this attitude, it's the GIRLS. The girls must dress modestly so that boys don't look at them or want them in "that way." Because girls who dress inappropriately or flirt or find themselves alone with boys are "asking for it." They're Jezebels and Bathshebas. Temptresses.

So . . . if you dress appropriately and behave and stay away from boys then everything will be okay.

Unless it's not.

Or unless you're a Duggar, and your older brother wants to molest you while you sleep.

I know the "modesty" and "purity" lingo. I grew up in this world. Thankfully, my world wasn't as strict as the Duggars, but I heard the preaching and the comparisons and the anecdotes. I was pulled aside one night with a friend by a "preacher-wife type," who took it upon herself to tell us that what we were wearing at the time was a "danger" to the men around us. We were stumbling blocks. We (with our harlot-wear--which, I'm pretty sure did not exist, because I know our parents at the time, and it wouldn't have been allowed) were capable of single-handedly destroying the male population--setting eyes on fire with lust and want. And, if they succumbed, it would be All. Our. Fault.

This is the world of the Duggar girls.

They are taught to believe their worth is tied to how "pure" they are. They are a shiny present wrapped in white satin--a gift to their future husbands.

And now some have been "defiled"--repeatedly, apparently--by someone they thought they could trust.

And my heart aches for them.

Because the family picked Josh. Everything I've read from the family focuses on Josh. Josh's forgiveness. His repentance. The horrible "path" he was on. The "counseling" he received (which I also question, but that's another post entirely). How grateful he is for everyone's "support."

And all the while I'm screaming: What about the GIRLS?

I don't watch the show. I don't pretend to know everything about them or all the details. But I'm familiar with them, and their beliefs and culture, and, while we absolutely do NOT need to know the girls' names, nor should we try to speculate who was affected by this, I'm not a fan of the way this situation was handled. The "cover-up." I don't think anyone benefited from the "counseling" and the "hush hush."

And I don't think the girls were provided the therapy they need to come to terms and move past this--and there are multiple layers which need to be addressed, with the "purity" stigma so deeply attached to it all. And I don't think they will, because the psychology behind it goes against everything this family "values."

And it's sad. Because, if not dealt with, there's no way to know how this experience will manifest itself in the future.

Josh's behavior was NOT NORMAL. It's deviant. It's inexcusable. And if it's not addressed professionally--by people who are trained to deal with this behavior--it could happen again.

I'm not saying that I don't believe in repentance and will-power and the power of forgiveness--if the Duggars want "God forgives and makes whole" to be part of the recovery process, that is absolutely okay with me. But it CAN'T BE THE ONLY PROCESS. Do not leave these girls to founder.

As a parent, I can't even imagine what a dark time this must have been (and still be) for them. But I know I would do everything in my power to get each child the help he or she needed--to whatever degree necessary--even if it meant stepping outside of my personal comfort zone, religious or otherwise.

Because "image" and "saving face" should never trump humanity, especially where our daughters are concerned.  

That is all.