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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Duggars Disaster: My Thoughts

       I tried to avoid writing about the Duggars disaster, because, well . . . it's depressing and sickening. Also, I have quite a few Patriarchal friends who have taken the Duggars as role models so the story's a little more personal for me than I'd like it to be. But there were so many things I disagreed with pasted all over the internet, I decided to air my own opinion. Here goes.

Things I disagree with on the internet

1. It was a one time incident over a decade go
     So, as Mike Huckabee and others have been saying, why get worked up about it? I disagree.
      These type of incidents very rarely happen in isolation. I'd bet a lot of money Josh Duggar learned about molestation from somewhere. And when Jim Bob thought, "oh I should get my son some help, but I don't want him turned over to the authorities," how did he just happen to have a state trooper friend who is so heavily into child porn that he's now serving 50+ years in prison? (Jim Bob apparently took Josh to this state trooper and the state trooper gave Josh a stern talking to, but did not turn him over to the authorities.) I don't know if the whole truth will ever come out or not. But truth does have a way of wiggling its way to the surface over the years.
   Also, I read rumors that the entire Duggar house is basically a lock-down facility. Cameras in the girls' bedroom, girls share beds, alarms, and of course the buddy system with no sibling ever being alone even to go to the grocery store. Not to mention a huge emphasis on modesty and not hugging/touching anyone. In my experience, people rarely take that many precautionary efforts if there isn't a real danger.

2. The Powers-that-Be Should Have Redacted the Sisters' Identities
    A lot of people have been saying that this story going viral just made things worse on the molested sisters.
     I disagree. While it's certainly very painful for the victims right now, exposing truth is important. I don't think being paraded around as the perfect family on TV was helpful for those girls. At least now the world knows the tip of the iceberg about what they've been through. And should the girls ever ask for help, because people know I bet they would offer free counseling or job skills or whatever. Without the victims' story being aired this support would never have been available to them. And if, as I suspect, this is only the tip of the iceberg, then perhaps the story airing now has saved some new victims.

3. We Should Worry, Worry, Worry about the Duggar Little Girls
     Everyone keeps talking about Josh Duggar's littlest sisters and daughters being at risk. I say, that's completely naive.
       Sexual molestation knows no gender. The Duggar little boys are just as at-risk as the little girls. Well, that's not entirely true. Girls are a bit more at risk, but little boys are still high risk too. According to the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys are molested before they turn 18. So yeah, molestation is about power, not about sexual attraction. Hence gender often doesn't matter that much to the perpetrator.

4. This Happened Because the Duggar Kids Didn't Date or Kiss Their 5th Grade Crush
    There have been a LOT of sex scandals around Christian Patriarchy families recently. In case you know nothing of Christian Patriarchy, think Muslim Sharia law, but substituting denim jumpers for burkas. Ok, not quite. :) But yeah, uber control-oriented, dad's in charge of everything.
     Many people on the internet are saying this all happened because Duggar kids didn't start dating and exploring their sexuality with boyfriends/girlfriends at a young age. I disagree with most of that argument.
     First, as we're all realizing after the Doug Phillips, Gothard, and now Duggar sex scandal, Patriarchy is an excellent breeding ground for sexual abuse. But that's not because the kids aren't exploring sexually, but because of the rigid control. The Duggars controlled everyone in the family from the time they came out of the womb (physical discipline started during infancy.) As a "good" Patriarch, Jim Bob was completely in control of Michelle as well as the kids. Everyone was supposed to "look happy" all the time even if they were dying inside. You weren't allowed to express your own opinions or pursue your own interests. Your only role was upholding the family image. And yes, the Duggars also controlled their children's sexuality by telling them who to marry, when they were allowed to hold hands or have their first kiss, and even when to have children (as often as possible until--and after--you lose your mind).
       But not only boxed-in and controlled teens choose to delay sexual experiences. Many devout teen youth group attendees, choose to wait until marriage. Their parents may not even be interested in church or waiting, but their teens make that choice. The Duggars are incredibly oppressive parents who control every aspect of their children's lives. And that atmosphere of control is ripe for breeding and covering up sexual abuse.
       But I don't think, oh, if only 17-year-old Joy-Anna Duggar snuck off with a neighbor boy for a night of stolen kisses, that would solve all their problems. In fact, teenage sexual exploration can often lead to young people becoming even more controlled. For example, a teenage girl gets pregnant by her abusive boyfriend than needs his money to be able to raise the baby so puts up with the abuse.
     What Patriarchal parents need to do to make their families less fertile breeding grounds for sexual abuse  is not to encourage teen sex, but to allow their children real freedoms. The freedom to drive a car, work a job, get an education. The freedom to express their unhappy emotions: anger, sorrow, depression, anxiety. The freedom to have friends and engage in an uncensored exchange of ideas. The freedom to say to their parents, "I disagree." And instead of Jim Bob and Michelle flipping out and preaching about "rebellion and disobedience" have them say, "ok that's your human right as a person created with a brain to use that brain to disagree with me."
      At the end of the day, sexual abuse has everything to do with power and control, and nothing at all to do with sexual attraction. So the way to create an environment where sexual abuse will not thrive is not to encourage teen sex, but to encourage teen choices and freedom of expression.

5. It Was SO Hypocritical for Michelle Duggar to Make That Robocall About Molestation

    In 2014, Michelle recorded a robocall against allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms of their new gender. There was a law getting voted on that at least partially related to that. Michelle was particularly worried about men who got gender reassignment surgery to become women entering the bathroom with her daughters. Now many people are calling her out for hypocrisy saying, "How could she think her daughters would be molested by transgender people when they were molested by their very own brother?" I disagree with calling Michelle a hypocrite over this.
    Now just to be clear, I do think Michelle is a hypocrite in almost every way imaginable. But in this instance, Michelle's daughters were molested by their very own, Christian Patriarchy indoctrinated brother. It seems to me like it's rather logical for Michelle to conclude that if even her own son would molest her daughters, then OF COURSE every other man, or former man, in the world would too. I would actually give Michelle a very, very small amount of kudos on this one. She was absolutely certain that all men molest girls, so she tried to take action to protect girls. I mean at least she wasn't victim-shaming. She didn't say, transgender male-to-female persons can share my daughters' bathroom, my girls just have to dress more modestly so they don't defraud these persons into raping them.

And now I will try to pry myself away from the ever fascinating Duggar scandal news stories and go get some exercise. What about you? Have you been following the Duggar scandal unravel? What are your thoughts? All opinions welcome.