The news just broke that Josh Duggar, the oldest son of the popular 19 Kids and Counting Duggar family, has acknowledged that as a teenager, he was investigated for molesting underage girls.
Reports state that following Josh’s confession to his father, over a year went by before the incident was reported to the police. In the meantime, the family sought counseling for Josh and for those “affected by his actions.”
This incident makes two things very clear – that child sexual abuse occurs more frequently than people realize, and that people do not know how to respond. When abuse occurs, the authorities should be notified immediately, and steps should be taken to support and care for those affected, who are victims of abuse. We often think of someone who sexually abuses children as the creepy stranger in the van. The truth is 40% of child sexual abuse is by an older, more powerful youth.
It is fine for people to work with spiritual leaders, but that does not take the place of reporting abuse. Victims need the chance for treatment, healing, and justice. Without proper treatment, child sexual abuse can cause trauma that follows children into adulthood. Depression, obesity, suicide, and even physical issues like heart problems and cancer can be linked to child sexual abuse. We as adults have a legal and moral obligation to report child sexual abuse immediately – as we see in this case, waiting any amount of time can affect investigations and deny the victims the due process they deserve.
“Those affected” does not properly convey the violation of trust involved with child sexual abuse – it’s sugar coating the reality that children were sexually abused. It is our duty to protect them, and to report abuse to the proper authorities. We cannot continue to sweep this issue under the rug. We see that in this case it’s possible that a perpetrator was protected. But where is the protection for the victims? What actions have been taken to ensure it will not happen again? Perpetrators are often allowed to slip under the radar because no one will report or put structures in place that protect children from sexual abuse.
And again, we are seeing attention placed on an alleged perpetrator rather than the issue. We need to take these incidents as a lesson on why understanding of child sexual abuse including prevention and response strategies is critical to the overall health of society. Until we do, we will see the cycle repeated again and again.
As of this afternoon, TLC has at least temporarily cancelled all airings of 19 Kids and Counting. Now, we’re asking them to address the issue and give it the full importance it deserves. Isn’t it time?
Darkness to Light’s Five Steps to Protecting Our ChildrenTM can help keep kids safe in both homes and organizations. Share this graphic and help us keep the focus on the need to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse!
9 responses to “We Keep Hearing About Josh Duggar. What About the Victims?”
As a victim of child sexual abuse, I am very excited that TLC has this opportunity to expose people to the fact that this is “covered up” in most families and from what I have read The Duggar Family at the least ATTEMPTED to handle the situation it in a responsible way at the time. I hope that now they will use the opportunity to raise awareness and prevention skills. When kids are not so ashamed that they are able to admit to and get treatment for thinking of doing this to someone before they actually take action Child Sexual Abuse would end! I certainly do not have the details to this story, but the report I watched and the story that these comments are based on both state that he and the victims went to therapy and that the police investigated. Child Sexual predators don’t just appear as Adult Monsters – they start as children, and as long as we as a Society are not addressing that issue on a serious level instead of just feeling sorry for victims and shaming predators, we will continue to suffer the long lasting and outreaching effects.
As a social worker, I have seen the long term effects of sexual trauma. Please help educate people on this to help those involved and their legal obligations.
I hope TLC will take this as an opportunity to openly discuss child sexual abuse, what it includes, how frequently it happens, and the long term effects on the victims.
Many years ago, on the cover of a People magazine, a young debutante revealed an ongoing incestuous relationship with her father. Money and status only covered it up more.
In my own community I know of several suicides as victims chose death over ongoing abuse.
This issue crosses all financial, social, educational, and religious boundaries. As long as shame keeps people quiet, nothing will change.
Please break the barrier of shame, misinformation, judgement and guilt!!
I was a victim of sexual abuse by an older sibling for 12 years before I was finally strong enough to fight back. I have still never seen justice even though there is no statute of limitations in my case. I can say, from my own personal experience, that abuse from a family member where there has been no real justice is a hard thing to work through. I moved on for years and just kept it to myself until I found out he raped his wife. He was never held responsible for that either. Knowing what he did to me and others haunts me everyday. Even though I had forgiven him, I am still traumatized and I doubt I will ever get past it fully. People need to know the truth about child abuse and what it really does to the victims.
As the product of years of molesation my Mother suffered, the lack of charges towards this so-called man, appall me. There is no amount of councilling that will make this right for the victims. There is only learning to deal with it and carrying on, try to fit in, try to feel normal. As for Josh Duggar and family…….hiding behind closed doors only makes it ok in your eyes. He should have faced charges and Duggar Family should have accepted the laws. Shame on you!!!!!
What are they doing to protect Josh and Anna little girl?????????
Perhaps the victims have forgiven and moved on and want it to stay in the past. Not blown up in the media over and over for everyone to scrutinize and debate, dispute and firestorm every aspect of their private lives…
I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and it has taken nearly my entire lifetime to gain balance. I agree that it’s important to provide education on this topic. Too often the issue is swept under the rug. When parents and others in authority over children are unsure as to how to respond, to the child, it feels as though they are being violated all over again. We need to be more open and honest about this topic.