Once upon a time, 19 Kids And Counting was one of our favourite shows on television. While we didn’t always agree with the Duggar’s lifestyle, we thought that a lot of their tips on parenting, budgeting and putting family first were helpful and sometimes even inspiring.
When we found out that Josh Duggar was on adulterer website Ashley Madison, we can’t say we were too surprised. Those who tend to preach the most about ultra-conservatism always seem to have the most to hide. Which, in Josh’s case, includes this porn star, who is currently suing him for $500,000.
But should an entire family be shunned for one bad apple? Of course not! That wouldn’t be reason enough for us to stop watching, especially considering the fact that Josh is officially off the show.
So why is it that we won’t be tuning into Counting On, the new Duggar series that premieres tonight, focused on two of the elder Duggar sisters, Jill and Jessa?
Along with the Ashley Madison scandal came the news that Josh Duggar had molested four of his sisters— Jill and Jessa among them. Despite knowing about the abuse, his parents shrugged it off, saying he was “just curious about girls.” It wasn’t until Josh molested a sister “whose age was in the single digits” that they felt he should be removed from the house.
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar failed their daughters. Among their teachings about modesty, they have time and time again put blame on the sisters for eliciting this treatment, as if they tempted Josh despite keeping covered up so as to not attract attention.
Not only did they fail their daughters, Michelle and Jim Bob failed Josh too, by neglecting to hold him accountable for his actions. Through their actions and their words, they’ve minimized his behaviour, brushing it off as a mere “mistake.” In fact, they’ve repeatedly stated the fact that many incidences took place when his sisters were sleeping… Because that makes it okay, right?! This attitude has pervaded the entire family, as exemplified in this recent interview from Josh’ brother, John David:
“The devil took his best shot. And he tried to take our whole family down, but God has really used this to — instead of tearing us apart as a family, he’s using it to draw us together … We’ve forgiven, and we’re moving on, and we’re looking to the future,” he said.
So when does this kind of rhetoric become dangerous? By undermining the seriousness of abuse, victims can suffer long-term psychological effects, not to mention re-occurring instances, as evidenced herein. Worst of all, the perpetrator is taught that they can get away with this kind of behaviour, which explains why Josh felt that he’d get away with the affairs, despite being a public figure. But the real victim here is Josh’s wife, Anna, who is expected to stay by his side. Is it just us, or should “For better or for worse” not include ongoing, public humiliation?
While we felt it important to address this issue for once and for all, we certainly won’t be watching or discussing it further. This isn’t the kind of example we should set for young people, and if we’re going to talk about “modesty”– how about ending the media charade that their life and family has become?
What do you think of the Duggars return to television? Will you be tuning in?