This is one of those times when I have more to say than I have words to express my emotions.
And yet, I will use this limited space to share the anger I’ve felt since first reading that Josh Duggar admitted to molesting young girls, including relatives, when he was a teenager.
I’ve never watched an episode of the Duggars’ television show, 19 Kids and Counting, and up until a couple of years ago, I didn’t know the name of even one Duggar kid.
I wasn’t so removed from popular culture that I wasn’t aware of the family who periodically appeared on the Today Show to announce another pregnancy, but I never gave them more thought than they seemed out of touch with reality.
I am the same age as Michelle,the matriarch of the family, and I remember thinking that she must have very low self-esteem to need to keep having babies to get attention.
Then, a couple of years ago I was so bored while waiting for a hair appointment that I picked up a magazine with the Duggars on the cover and read an article about them. I learned more about the family than I ever wanted to know. They aren’t just a really big family. They are a really big family that thinks women should be subservient to men. For example, they believe that a woman destroys a husband’s manliness if she is financially independent and should submit to him. Even worse, they teach their children that women must cover their bodies from head to toe so they don’t tempt men.
In other words, men can’t control themselves, so women are responsible for ensuring they don’t make unwanted sexual advances. The family even has a code word – Nike – that they use when a woman they consider to be scantily clad (which might mean she’s wearing shorts and a v-neck t-shirt) walks by. When the word is uttered, the males in the family are supposed to look down at their shoes so they don’t “see things they shouldn’t see.”
And now the oldest Duggar son has admitted he is guilty of incidents of sexual assault that were hidden from the public for years. During those same years, the Duggars’ media dynasty grew right along with the size of their family. During that same time, Josh’s victims heard the Duggars talk about how women need to cover up because men can’t control themselves
In other words, the victims not only had to endure the silence about Josh’s crimes but they had to listen to the Duggars perpetuate the myth that victims of a sexual assault did something to provoke their attacker.
While that is not be a criminal offense, it is a terrible, terrible crime.
Trina Bartlett lives with her husband, Giles Snyder, their teenage son and daughter, two cats and one enormous German Shepherd. When she’s not being a mom, volunteering, writing, biking or walking the giant German Shepherd, Trina works full time as a director at a nonprofit, social service organization.