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Monday, June 8, 2015

19 Kids and Counting: The Duggar Family

I happened to be watching television last week and saw a two part news report about the Duggar Family.  I had vaguely heard of them from their television reality show 19 Kids and Counting. I really  didn't know much about them except they were Christians with a huge family. I've never seen the show and really had no interest in them one way or the other until now.

It seems that prior to the beginning of their television series there had been a terribly sad situation where their then 15 year old son molested several of his younger sisters and a babysitter who was also younger than him. He apparently confessed to this of his own volition and was sent away to get some form of help for this. The family managed to move on from this tragedy and have become a sort of cultural icon to those who espouse conservative Christian values. It is unclear to me if their son was sent away for residential treatment specializing in the treatment of sex offenders or whether he was sent to some residential Christian counseling program. There are huge differences in these treatment modalities.

There are two things that bother me about this situation and I want to share my views on those two things. The first thing is that sealed records regarding minors that should have never been opened were exposed by the press who identified the victims of the Duggar’s son publicly. That never should have happened and retraumatized for the victims, perhaps in a manner far worse than the original trauma of being molested by a family member. This should have never happened. That act was unconscionable.

We also know that Mr. and Mrs. Duggar are extremely bigoted people.  Mrs. Duggar has publicly referred to transgender people as pedophiles. She believes that people such as myself transition in order to prey upon children and she tried to help support a bill before the Arkansas state legislature to ban people who have transitioned from using the appropriate public bathroom facilities because she believes that people like me transition so that we can prey upon children in the women's bathroom. She expressed  this unbelievably ignorant  and damaging opinion by campaigning publicly in an automated phone call to voters of Arkansas. 

The truth of the matter is that transgender people are at an exponentially higher risk of being sexually assaulted or other wise being victimized by violent crimes committed by cisgender people than transgender people sexually assaulting or committing violent offenses against cisgender people. It's almost as if her shrill hysteria about transgender people is a smoke screen for the sexual violence that was perpetrated by a family member within her own family.

I was shocked to see on the news report how the Duggars stated that their son is not a pedophile and he has been forgiven by his victims and the rest of the family. It’s fascinating to watch their level of denial about this matter in view of what their opinions are about transgender people. Their son essentially gets a pass from the family for being a child molester while they publicly try to persecute people like me.My fascination is a lot like watching a car accident about to happen which can no longer be avoided. You experience the horror, but you just can’t look away.

 At one time, I used to hold a level II sex offender treatment provider license in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Due to the son having been 15 and not 16 at the time of his offenses, he technically is not considered a pedophile, but it is most concerning that he had multiple victims and if he had been a few months older, he would be considered by the criteria to be a pedophile. There is no denying however that his behavior was predatory in nature and he had several victims who he serially sexually abused in a planned out manner. Moreover, sex offenders have a notoriously high rate of reoffending, though this does not appear to be the case with Josh Duggar to the best of our knowledge. However, as time goes by, more women who had been victimized by him may emerge from the shadows. We shall have to wait and see.

For the life of me, I cannot understand how Mrs. Duggar can make such uninformed and stupid comments about a class of people she knows nothing of and accuses them of something so heinous as pedophilia without a shred of evidence in such a cavalier manner with this mess lying at her doorstep. But of course, in the case of the Duggars, their son is repentant and that makes everything fine. Nothing to look at there, people, please move along and pretend nothing ever happened. Just agree with them and point your fingers and condemn transgender people publicly instead of discussing the very real danger their son posed to his sisters and other females in the community.

It seems to me that people in glass houses should not be casting stones. It is my hope that the Duggars will no longer be afforded a public forum to spread false beliefs and spew their hatred born of ignorance over the public air waves.

We would never have known about how deeply the Duggar’s hypocrisy truly runs if it were not for the release of police records that should never have been revealed. The true victims are the girls who have been traumatized again and I am deeply sorry that happened to them. However, with this new information, I would like to see an organized effort to remove these people from the public forum by cancelling their television show. They do not appear to be healthy role models for America.

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