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.