Silence Isn’t Mercy: Undoing Duggar’s Damage to Society

I planned to post the next installment in my Fruit of the Spirit series today, but after reading about Josh Duggar’s lawsuit against In Touch Weekly, I can’t be silent. For the sake of all those who shut up and acted like everything was okay after enduring the crime of sexual predators, I’m going to throw my tiny voice out there and join a growing chorus of advocates.

Silence, Duggar, pedophile, In Touch, societyIf you’re not familiar with the story, Josh Duggar is requesting to join his sisters’ lawsuit against the magazine, which originally reported his molestation of them in 2015. They’re also suing the police department that released the reports, claiming that the police department and the magazine violated minors’ privacy rights, despite the fact that all minors’ names were redacted and never published.

Duggar claims the article caused him to suffer “severe emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and economic harm both to his personal and professional reputations.”

Let’s be clear about what caused Josh’s suffering. He ruined his own reputation and humiliated himself by touching his sisters in a sexual way.

In Touch didn’t ruin him financially, either. Unless we’re to believe that the Family Research Council would have been fine with employing a pedophile and pornography addict as long as those flaws could be kept on the down low. I’m going to hope for the best about them and believe that an organization that claims to champion traditional family values wouldn’t knowingly employ an unrepentant sexual molester.

Since his parents worked so hard to keep it covered up, I can understand Josh’s sense of entitlement. In his worldview, what happened was merely a “youthful indiscretion.” A private family matter. But this kind of crime affects families for generations. It has a drastic, negative impact on society.

There’s a huge difference between sexual predatory behavior and a “youthful indiscretion.” For example, the latter might be teenage hijinks like covering the youth pastor’s skylight with Cheez Whiz. Totally inappropriate (and technically illegal), but rectifiable.

The Duggars’ minimization of the damage to their girls’ emotional and spiritual health speaks the wrong message to others who’ve endured the same type of violation.

But even one of the girls, Jessa Duggar, went so far as to publicly defend his behavior. She told Fox that the term “child molester” as a label was “so overboard and a lie.”

Silence, Duggar, pedophile, In Touch, society

A lie? That’s got to be the saddest part of this whole scandal, how skewed the girls’ thinking is. If a teen boy touching his sisters’ genitals and breasts isn’t pedophilia, then what is? Again, no one in the Duggar family denies that this happened—they only choose to call it by an innocuous label, instead of what it really is.

 

Here’s where the Duggars and I see things differently. Josh thinks bringing his crimes to light is a bad thing. I think it’s an act of mercy.

What if, now that it’s known, Anna Duggar has the knowledge and empowerment to protect her children? (What if others take note and do this too?)

What if the next generation of parents decide to teach their children the difference between appropriate affection and molestation and that it’s okay to say “no,” even if the older man is an authority figure?

What if the church and religious organizations stand up for and protect the children instead of helping to cover up for the perpetrators?

And here’s the biggest blessing that could come of all of this mess:

Instead of shrinking into shame and silence, what if the molested could speak the truth and have society come alongside them with affirmation and support? What if perpetrators are held accountable?

Silence is the reason one out of every four girls is molested by age eighteen. Silence is the reason they are the ones who feel ashamed. Silence is the reason they live with the pain instead of getting help.

Because silence ensures the perpetrator can get away with it.

It’s time for the consequences to fall where they belong. Let those who should be ashamed—be ashamed.

 

Please share your thoughts in the comments: what gives you courage to speak up for those shamed in silence?

 

 

 

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12 comments

  1. Wow, Lyneta, I hadn’t heard this story until now. I think the enemy is a master at projecting blame onto others. It grieves our Jesus that the molestation is accepted and there is distortion of terms to cover it up. I pray for 100% justice. I’m sure that our Redeemer can and will help the girls heal, but it’s egregious that they’ve been compromised. Thank you for being a voice for those who have none. Thank you for the courage to write about it!

    1. Thank you, Lynn. I agree that our Redeemer can heal the girls completely. And He can also restore Josh to a right relationship, if Josh is willing to be real with Him.

  2. Thank you, Lyneta. As someone who endured molestation by an older family member, and felt like I had no voice, we need to continue to say, “It’s NOT okay! Let’s call it what it is. Don’t minimize it. Own your sin, and get help, so that it isn’t passed along to future generations as acceptable.”

    1. Marla, I’m so sorry that happened to you. I’m standing with you to say, “It’s NOT okay!” I had a similar experience. God bless you, friend.

      1. It’s so sad that it happens so often, even in the church. I’m sorry that you experienced that as well. Thank you for writing this article! Well said.

        1. It is sad. I believe that the more light is shed on it, the less frequently it will happen. Thanks for joining the conversation.

  3. Wow!!! You nailed it with this post, friend! THANK YOU for speaking truth and grace. You are correct that it is mercy to hold one accountable for their actions. Thank you for this post. It is healing those who read it.

    1. Thank you, Denise! I’m glad it blessed you. It’s my hope to reach out to many on the healing journey I’m on.

  4. This was so well said and long needed to be said – thank you so much for writing this and stating it all so well. God bless you for being obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to step up and say what needed to be said in a way that can be heard. I come from a generation where it was known but not talked about – always in silence – so many young women grew up thinking this behavior was acceptable (and even that they may have been responsible somehow sadly) but in God’s eyes it is not okay nor acceptable. But God gives hope to us that women (or men) can be healed through His grace and mercy and those who have been the perpetrators can find forgiveness at the cross. Thank you Lyneta !!!

    1. Absolutely, Chris! God wants to heal us and forgive us all, no matter how big the wound or the sin. Thank you for reading and joining the conversation.

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