The Missing Question by Maureen Eich VanWalleghan

Well the school year has ended. I have made my writing deadline. My husband has come home. And we are dealing with my car. Yeah, I can think about other things like Josh Duggar…what?

First, let me preface this post by saying I don’t own a TV and I have never watched 19 Kids and Counting. But, the news media coverage of Josh Duggar’s molestation revelations have been everywhere and for me, it has been quite disconcerting how this story has unfolded.

In all the articles that I have read that are floating around on the web there is yet again the ongoing shaming practice that I find so abhorrent. I do not condone Duggar’s actions and yet I keep asking myself when will a more nuanced discussion begin about incest and molestation; what is sexual abuse?

I would like to address the age of Josh Duggar when the molestation of his sisters and an unnamed minor occurred. He was fourteen years old. That is still a child. Let me say that again: he was still a child. Why has no one asked who was molesting Josh Duggar?

Food for thought from the Justice Department website.

Disclosure Among Victims
Males tend not to report their victimization, which may affect statistics. Some men even feel societal pressure to be proud of early sexual activity, regardless of whether it was unwanted. 1

This is not a dissertation, so I will refrain from over referencing this post. Beyond the Justice Department website, a great deal has been written about incest, molestation and even men and sexual abuse. What I would really like is for you, the reader, to consider that this situation for Josh Duggar may be but one small piece in a larger cycle of generational sexual abuse that is being passed forward.

If a child is molesting his siblings there is very likely an older adult molester nearby. So why hasn’t this been asked or discussed or even considered in the media coverage. I believe that it is much easier to say a molester—aka pedophile as Duggar as been called—just springs forth, a monster to be named and then reviled and then squashed.

How much more scary it would be to really hold that this incident of molestation in the Duggar family could be part of a bigger systemic issue in that house, community or frankly in our society at large. Consider again information from the Justice Department website, on their fact sheet, which states:

How Common Are Sex Crimes?
Sex crimes are unfortunately fairly common in the United States. It is estimated that one in every five girls and one in every seven boys are sexually abused by the time they reach adulthood…

The situation and coverage of Josh Duggar’s revelations are salacious with a dose of juicy morality thrown in for good measure. The religious and ethical implications of Duggar’s “inexcusable” behavior has warranted action, but no real commentary about molest, incest or sexual abuse. And that is very disconcerting and to be mourned.


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