22 May 2015

"I Acted Inexcusably."

I thought long and hard before deciding to write about such a controversial topic. As a mother and a teacher and somebody who doesn't hold back or filter very often, I decided to share my thoughts and opinions.

Yesterday, Josh Duggar confessed to sexually molesting five young girls, with speculations that some may have been his sisters.

From Josh:
Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.

When I first heard about it today while watching Good Morning America, I think my jaw dropped to the floor. My initial reaction was that of anger towards Josh and sadness for his victims. After I digested the information, I blamed his family for their choices. I condemned them for not allowing their children to show love towards others through kissing and touching. Because of their strict family rules and their views on how society should be, this made Josh feel like a caged animal, wanting to explore and react to normal hormonal changes that a teenage boy goes through. I blamed them for not being open to discussion with their children about sexual experiences and that as followers of Christ, you do not give in to sinful and devil like behaviour. I am not against a family setting rules and boundaries when it comes to intimate relationships, but I am against avoiding discussion and not deciding on a plan that will work for the whole family. I am against sweeping matters of a sexual nature under the rug. These were my initial reactions. Emotion over logic.

After I read Josh's statement, I was even more upset because I thought that he used Christ as an out. He used Christ as a means to excuse his behaviour and inexcusable choices. This bothered me. As I continued to read his statement, I wondered how his family could speak to the authorities but that nothing was done. Why did the Duggar family not contact the authorities right away? Why did the incidents continue before something was actively done about it? If five girls had been molested, seeking counselling was enough of a consequence? Today, are they thriving women, in healthy relationships, with no thoughts of their tumultuous past? Josh's actions were clearly illegal and those which will heavily impact the lives of the victims and their families for a lifetime. The family also stated in the police report that they all felt safe in their home with Josh. I can hear the Duggar parents educating their children on what they would say during their interrogation with the detectives. I could actually hear them saying that God forgives. For me, this is not about Christ, this is not about your beliefs, whether you are religious or not, this is about a human being who has sexually abused five girls. It is against the law. It deserves consequences. These actions are not remedied by attending counselling and receiving a verbal lickin' from your family and the authorities.

How do we truly know that he has made right with his victims and that by admitting it publicly, we should all forgive him and move on? How does this make those affected by abuse feel about their own personal situations? The perpetrator can apologize, receive counselling and all is made right. The Duggars have an enormous following, most are followers of Christ, who say that we are all sinners, he shared his mistake with all of us, he is forgiven and we need to move on. Yes, I agree that we are all sinners and that God forgives, but there are rules that society is expected to follow. We have laws for a reason.

There are many others who do not feel that the situation was dealt with accordingly or lawfully.
Some of the comments which have received numerous 'likes' and feedback.....

"Love hearing most of you defending a child molester...you would be singing a different tune if it's your child."

"What about the girls? This is a HUGE part of this response that is missing, what about the girls? I fear for his daughters. Good luck wearing those blinders.

"So anything can be forgiven except homosexuality? I'd leave a daughter with a same sex couple in a heartbeat, but never with a pedophile who's warped parents will protect him and place their own children and grandchildren at risk. It's sick."

The last comment, I read it several times. The Duggar family has been very vocal about what makes up a healthy family unit. It consists of a mother, father and children. Josh has resigned from his position at the Family Research Council, where he has preached about family and love and that we need to follow God's word.
I think about the world and all the unhealthy and volatile households, which consist of a mother and a father. What makes up a family unit? It's a home filled with love, respect, values and morals.  

The Duggar house would have been filled with fear, uncertainty and upset. I know that they do not need to admit to the public how they felt at the time, but the fact that their story has travelled all across the globe, I feel sorry for all of those who have been victimized, abused and who continue to go through this today. I feel that we are telling them that they need to move on, they should not feel that abuse is taken seriously and that going to the authorities is futile and a waste of time. An apology and counselling with make all the wrongs go away.

Josh Duggar did not make a mistake. A mistake is defined as 'an act or judgment that is misguided or wrong." It is one act, one judgement, not multiple. After your first misguided decision, it becomes a choice, one that you have complete control over. Five misguided acts is serious, it is not something that should be taken lightly nor should it be swept under the rug. With the enormity of their family and the amount of young children, why have the authorities not stepped in with rules, with consequences, with an order that protects the children? Do I believe that Josh feels remorse? Absolutely. Do I believe that he is cured of impure thoughts? No, I do not. This is why there needs to be resolution, one that involves the law, not a public apology to the viewers. This does not 'fix' the inexcusable choices that were made in the past. Putting Josh behind bars and throwing away the key is not the solution, but probation, community service, boundaries need to be put in place.

There are so many gaps in this story. My post is based solely on what I have read and seen on TV today. I did not write this post to cause controversy or to shame followers of Christ. I believe in God but I feel that in a situation such as this, it is not about God forgiving sins, it is about the world knowing that there are consequences to those who do not follow the law and compassion for those who are victimized by others. I hope that there are more details in the future and that the victims find the peace and closure that they deserve.

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