On the Duggar Family, and the Legacy of Abuse

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I’ll admit it, I was a fan of the Duggar family. I did NOT agree (and was often outraged) with any of their religious or political views, but I can completely disagree with a persons moral values and still respect their freedom of choice … plus I thought they were still a pretty good family. Now maybe my idea of a good family is all fucked up … but I didn’t ever get one, so my radar is probably way off. Anyway, yeah, I liked the family and I liked the show.

And then the whole sex abuse thing happened. And in a blink of an eye, the curtain fell. I awaited the interview on Fox News, hoping that the parents would show the world that they made a mistake. That protecting the victims should have been their only priority, and that they fucked up. I was probably more into this than I should have been … but let me explain where I am at right now.

I grew up suffering abuse. Sex abuse. Emotional abuse. Physical abuse. The adults in my family were often the perportrators, and even when they werent, they cared little about what I was telling them. The way my family works is to shove things under the carpet, shut up, and stay quiet. The only two times my mother addressed my pleas for help from the sexual abuse I suffered were, “Are you sure you didn’t do something to lead him on?” or “How could you do this to me?” Because everything, and I mean everything, always came back to being about her.

And then someone very close to me was sexually abused by another family member. It began when they were a young child and went on to early adulthood. The adults in my family knew the entire time. And they continued to let the two be together. They continued to let this abuser around the victim. Over and over again, enabling the abuse to continue for years. This, in turn, made the victim believe that the only thing to do was carry the burden alone, no matter the cost, to keep the family happy.

Yes, they continued protecting the abuser by doing nothing. “Lets handle this as a family,” they would say, or “It wasn’t as bad as you think … just a little crush. It’s natural,” or, “I am so sorry, I should have done something …” followed by no action, whatsoever. They wanted the easy way out … to admit something bad MIGHT have happened, but to do nothing about it. For years. Over and over again.

So that is my family legacy. To blame the victim, whether by direct words, or by their actions of protecting the abuser.

And that is the legacy the Duggar parent’s are giving to their children.

And that is the legacy that the world is giving to victims.

Protect the bad guy. Silence the victim.

And listen, I get it. It’s scary. It’s fucking scary to do the right thing. But you get through it. You push through that fear, because this is bigger than you. This is for the protection and healing of the victim(s) you love.

I was really hoping to hear something different from the Duggar ma & pa, since they have a public outlet to really create some change, but I cannot say that I am completely surprised that I didn’t. There are only a few of us strong enough to fight this fight the way it is supposed to be fought. Who stand up and say, “This is not okay. This will never be okay.” And then we do something. We do something scary … and sometimes it brings no justice. Sometimes, the legal system fails us. But at the very very least, we can know that we are different from those enablers. We are different from the abusers. And someday, our voices will be the ones you hear the loudest.

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7 thoughts on “On the Duggar Family, and the Legacy of Abuse

  1. I have not followed the Duggar family nor will I start, but you would have to living in a hole not to know what has been going on with this family in recent days. Everything you write here is dead on Erica. Every. Single. Word.

    As long as we continue to bury our heads in the sand, children will continue to stay silent, thus carrying a burden no child should have to carry. When will we stop making excuses for child molesters & start protecting the children who are the victims?

    You have a strong voice Erica, you are a survivor, even though there are days when you question that. I hear such strength here in that voice. It makes me very proud!

  2. I can’t stand the whole act like it didn’t happen crap, it makes you lose your sanity. The duggar type family was my dream growing up, a ton of kids living out in the country protected from the world but now it seems they have their own worldly stuff in the midst of them even though they probably don’t think of themselves as worldly.I wonder what they say to the victims behind closed doors, like are they allowed to say this is how it made me feel and I’m entitled to my feelings or are they expected to just smile and say it’s okay ( when it never is when it comes to that kind of stuff).

  3. As I read your story (heartbreaking), I still couldn’t imagine the Duggars saying anything but self-justifying nonsense. It was over a decade ago, they have had so much time to justify and compartmentalize and double talk their way around this abuse. Who knew that, when trying to juggle 19 (and counting) different things, some things may fall through the cracks, like properly accounting for your child and his behavior. Like you said, it’s “scary to do the right thing.”
    But, on a less serious note, how did you watch that show and not think that something was seriously off about a couple who only has sex for procreation? Terrifying people.

  4. I agree with you completely. The abused person is the victim. A child needs to be cherished and protected. And the Duggar parents are a big part of the problem. Thank you for your post.
    Marcey

  5. “Silence the victim.” I get sick when I hear this. I get sick when I read this. I get sick when I know this. Yes, it takes courage to step forward and say, “This is WRONG! And, this will not continue to go on!” But, really — how much courage does it take to protect a child? It takes love!!! And, love is a verb — an ongoing verb that encompasses loving to the point of death.

    I’m disgusted with the Duggars. You’re so right. They had a big platform — a chance to change things for victims of abuse. But, they didn’t. They took the easy road. They make me sick.

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