Sunday, May 24, 2015

B113. The Duggar I Knew

I never watched 19 Kids and Counting and never knew the Duggars existed until their scandal hit the news this week, but I had my own Josh Duggar.

 It was maybe 1969, which would make me about seven years old. The little country church that had long been a part of my family’s fabric was preparing for a new minister. Over a span of Saturdays, the women of the church cleaned the parsonage top to bottom, preparing it for its new residents, and we children were left to play outside. Hide-and-seek seemed to always be the game of choice, or at least the only one that survives in my memory.

“Josh” was older than I by several years, and he always motioned for me to follow him into the basement to “hide.” I can still see the concrete basement floor and the poles. I can still feel the dampness of the basement air. There he would expose himself, invite me to touch him, and beg me to do the same for him. Neither of those “invitations” was ever accepted. I was a strong and thinking child, and I continued to go to the basement with him because I was afraid my little sister would be his second choice if I refused.

To all the little girls and boys in similar situations now, please tell an adult what’s going on. I couldn’t then. It was a different time. Nobody ever talked about such things, and it would’ve likely gotten him and me both a spanking and then would’ve been “forgotten.”

But a victim never forgets.

I was one of the lucky ones. I had two Josh Duggars in my life, neither of which escalated to what I would call abuse. Yet, 40-something years later, I still can’t stand the sight or mention of either of these two men, and every Josh Duggar story brings back the sickening memories.

Recent studies have revealed shockingly that about one in five females and one in 20 males have been raped and/or violently sexually assaulted, almost half of them before age 18, and a large percentage of the perpetrators are trusted family members or family friends.  That’s not just one in every five strangers out there somewhere. That’s one in every five women you know!

Can God forgive a child molester? We Christians say yes. Can we forgive a child molester? We Christians say it’s possible. Can a TV network justifiably pull a show because the name of one of its stars has suddenly become synonymous with child sexual abuse? Absolutely! Thank you, TLC!

Probably like Josh Duggar, I don’t believe my “Josh Duggar” is, or ever was, as an adult, a child molester, and I would guess he is sorry whenever he remembers the sexual exploits of his youth.  I have never exposed him (no pun intended), nor do I have any such intention. But hear me, and hear me well, those who are posting in defense of 19 Kids: If this man and his family ever ever ever have a TV show or any other public venue through which they are advising their viewers on how to live sexually pure lives like they live, I will speak out, and I will speak loudly, because every choice we make leaves consequences, and often victims, who have lost much more than a TV show.

Before you shout again your disdain at the “liberals” for taking your show away, and before you again accuse those who disagree with you as being “unchristian,” ask yourself quietly, what if your own child was one of the victims, and then accept that there’s a one in five chance she will be. Then petition God for a heart of wisdom, discernment, and compassion, like the heart of Jesus. We must, we must, we must rescue our hearts and minds from the political bondage that has stolen our souls.


*An after note (one day later): It was in response to the justify-at-all-cost attitude (see the final 2 paragraphs) infecting the social media feeds that I wrote this post. If 1 in every 5 females has been raped or violently sexually assaulted, how many of every 5 are there if you add the "smaller" stories like mine into the mix? Since posting, I have received a stream of private emails from women telling me of molestations they have kept quiet their whole lives. I spoke out for them, and for the 1 in 20 males with similar stories.

Yet there is another side of the story, and I want to add it here clearly. If 1 in 5 women has been molested, there is likewise a shocking percentage of perpetrating males who have carried around their pubescent shameful secrets. I encourage them to seek help also - someone who is trained to listen and help them move on. Indeed there is no sin God cannot forgive, and past acts, no matter how bad, are not worth ending one's life. I forgive my "Duggar," and "the" Duggar, and wish them both happy normal lives, just not on my TV screen, and not as heroic "poligious" icons.

photo credit: peikids

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