Friday, June 5, 2015

I'm breaking my blog silence on the Duggar family molestation victim blaming fail

I haven't blogged about the Duggar molestation scandal because one, it makes me sick, and two, I wanted more of the story to unfold.  Everyone in the blogsphere hit the keys with happy hatred beating in their hearts, excited to take down a family that they knew couldn't be as perfect as it seemed to be.  I am not a piranha and refuse to hit the keys just because there’s blood in the water, however, I am a great white shark, and there is victim blaming on a surf board just above me.

I’ve been in several debates with people since the news broke about what the difference between molestation and exploration.  Exploration happens in childhood.  You've probably been curious about your body at some point and checked out a trusted friend’s body just to see what it looks like.  Exploration is entered into mutually by two children usually of the same sex and who are the same age and size.  There is never coercion or deception by one, and most times it’s just to see what parts of their body look like from a different view.  Children who are caught in exploratory play are often giggling because they feel it’s silly.  Child molestation happens when a person becomes sexually aroused by a child who is much smaller and younger than them.  Deception, such as touching during sleep or using coercion to perform or get away with sex acts on a child is child molestation.

In this case, the victims were more than 5 years younger, in a completely different age group, there was coercion and deception.  It seems cut and dry.  The Incest Survivors Resource Network states that "the erotic use of a child, whether physically or emotionally, is sexual exploitation in the fullest meaning of the term, even if no bodily contact is ever made."  It’s very important to remember that no touching has to ever occur for the damage to be done.  Even exposing one’s self or looking at a child who has been talked into taking their own clothes off for sexual gratification is sexual abuse.

Forget the abuser, let’s stop talking about how he was just a boy who needed therapy.  We have established that he meets both legal and psychological criteria to be considered a predatory sex offender. 

What about the girls?  And I’m not talking about who they are, where they live, and what they look like.  I’m talking about the fact that no one cared enough to protect the girls beyond counselling. 
When a girl is molested, several things happen from a psychological and medical standpoint.  A sacred barrier has been breached.   Psychologically, when a young girl is molested, there is an instant brand of shame put right on her heart.  It can take years to go away, and sometimes it never does, especially when the information is suppressed.  It’s not something that a short stint of counselling can fix.  PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight issues, and even issues within the reproductive parts of the body can stem from even one time of child sexual abuse.  When a child is molested and the information is suppressed, it deepens the shame in that child and will take root and grow as that child enters adulthood.  Children who are sexually abused at a young age can always struggle with what box to put sex into.   They will often be either overly sexual or have no sexual desire.  This can cause relationship problems and even divorce as an adult.   Drug and alcohol use often becomes a factor as well.  According to the AAETS,  “specialists in the addiction field (alcohol, drugs and eating disorders) estimate that up to 90 percent of their patients have a known history of some form of abuse.   Children who have been sexually abused are at higher risk to be groomed for sex trafficking and working in the adult entertainment business. 

When a girl’s heart has been affected by sexual abuse as a child, she looks to her champions to come to her rescue.  In this case, the champions in question suppressed the information and created a familial culture that it’s not that big of a deal.  When children, especially young girls have to grow up in this victim blaming culture within the family, being faced with their abuser every day and watching him get away without any real consequence, it deepens the chasm of shame, opens up the risk of it happening again and again as they head into adulthood, and never re-solidifies that barrier.  This is why women who have been abused often times end up with men who abuse.  That barrier that would send someone else running for the hills appears familiar and safe to a girl who has experienced the same barrier breach as a child, even if the woman doesn't understand why, therefore repeating the cycle of abuse.  

This chasm of shame can hold adults back from ever reaching their full potential.  In some cases, everything can seem fine until one day in her mid-30’s, Suzie Q has a psychological breakdown and doesn’t understand why.  The long term effects of sexual abuse are staggering, even in girls who have received counselling as a child.  It’s an epidemic that will not ever go away until people start standing up and saying, “We will not condone this anymore!”

Parents, protect your children.  Mandatory reporters, PLEASE REPORT!  IT’S MANDATORY!!!  Even if it feels like life will be really hard once you do.  This story proves that if you don’t, life will be even harder.

So, while I watch mortified as the only conversations people are having are out of anger that the girls have been victimized by this story coming out, I want to leave you with this.  They were already victimized.  No one cared to be outraged then.  Nobody who was supposed to protect them did.  A piece of their soul is forever missing, and they are just supposed to be okay with it.  The more the conversation minimalizes the actual event in their lives by diverting the outrage to other avenues, it creates this new feeling that
what happened was really no big deal.  THIS FURTHERS THE VICTIM BLAMING RAPE CULTURE WE LIVE IN TODAY and will continue to leave victims blaming themselves for something that maybe should be no big deal.  It will continue to stop victims from speaking up because they believe no one will do anything to help them, which will leave them to be victimized over and over again in their lives.  The trauma isn’t that this came out now, it’s that no one did anything in the first place. 

Abuse is always a big deal.  Coercion and deception are the path to abuse.  Always report it.  Be part of the movement to stop the cycle and hold people accountable for their actions.

Let me ask you this.  If a 15 year old kid shot your child in cold blood, would you not want them to be treated and tried as an adult?  Why is sexual abuse any different? 


  1. Thank you for writing and posting this!

  2. I love you so much Sunshine! The truth you spoke hit the nail on the dot! You amaze me!

  3. You are amazing Sunshine. Thank you.

  4. You are amazing Sunshine. Thank you.