For most people in society, rape and child molestation are some of the most heinous and atrocious crimes, and sometimes they are some of the most overlooked issues in society. But it seems that when we, as a society, look at these situations, we want to be a hero and hang everyone involved that didn’t act in ways that fit into our own ‘justice’ criteria. That’s what is happening with the Josh Duggar story, and it’s quite unfortunate. In an attempt to help these girls that were victimized by Josh Duggar, society is actually making their lives worse.
So what’s all this Josh Duggar talk? Well, in 2002, Josh Duggar (14 years old at the time, 27 currently), fondled the breasts and genitals of at least five girls (and as far as I’m aware, it was with clothing on). Some were his siblings while others were not. The police were involved at some point during this ordeal, Josh admitted to having done these things, and the family did what they felt was necessary at the time; their decision was made to protect their family’s name (I’m sure), as well as handle an obviously twisted, pubescent teen. It’s worth mentioning that the Duggar family was the focal point of reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting.” The show has been cancelled in light of the criminal report of sexual misconduct.
The backstory is necessary to understand, because most people point out the hypocrisy of a “Christian family” trying to ‘cover up’ the incident, but in all honesty it makes complete sense. It makes sense, at least to me, because the family would want to protect their name and their paycheck (from the show). Why would any family in this situation want something like this to become a public ordeal? I can’t think of any reason a family would do that to themselves or to their own child, especially given Josh’s age. But this won’t stop our society from blaming everyone involved – family, police, siblings, everyone.
To all of those screaming about hanging Josh Duggar, putting him on death-row, putting him in front of a firing squad, or even giving him life in prison, I’ll just say – why? Why would we ruin another person’s life based on something they did as a very young teenager? Why would we treat a 14 year-old as having an adult capacity if that same 14 year-old is not allowed to have sex with another ‘adult’? Why would we criminalize anyone having sex with a 14 year old if we are willing to call that 14 year-old an adult when the 14 year-old does something we find to be atrocious? He was FOURTEEN. He was probably just growing his first pubic hairs, his hormones were overwhelming his body, and he lived in a “Christian” household that no doubt shames sex every chance it gets. There are plenty of folks out there that won’t care how old he was and they will still call on him to be jailed 9 years later, and jailed for life, which would leave a family without a father and husband (another issue entirely). So why do I think him being fourteen makes a difference in how he is treated by society?
According to the US Department of Justice, his likelihood for re-offending as an adult is very low – less than 10%, in fact. The recidivism rate of juvenile sex offenders is extremely low, as is the recidivism rate of adult sex offenders. In fact, the recidivism rate for any offense by adult sex offenders is lower than the recidivism rate by those convicted of any other crime. The document provided in the first link also states that most juvenile sex offenders plateau at around the age of 14 and often fulfill whatever sexual curiosity they have by the age of 17. This is important, because many people are making the claim that Mr. Duggar’s offenses continued on until the age of 17.
I realize most people will disagree with me on this matter, but that’s why I’m writing this article today; I think it’s important that we look at this situation without all the emotion that inevitably occurs when we learn of a child being mistreated in any way. I think it’s also important to point out how the media frenzy regarding Josh Duggar serves to harm the victims even further and will do nothing to help them cope with any struggles they might have. For the purposes of a solid example, I will use a very personal story to point out why I feel society is re-victimizing the girls in the Josh Duggar story.
My wife was sexually abused numerous times throughout her life, and it did affect her tremendously. Being privy to this information gave me a responsibility and an obligation to do with this information in the manner she feels comfortable with, because it’s not about me or how I feel on the matter – it’s about her. She’s the victim here, not me. Because of this responsibility, I do not bring this topic up on any regular basis. If she feels like she needs to talk about it or is upset by something regarding her past, she knows she can speak with me about it at length and I will always be there to help her through it, but I never take her story and run with it. I do not call on the people that abused her. I do not call the police and demand they be picked up and hanged. I do not go around telling everyone about her past, because it’s none of their business. It is a wholly personal matter and is dealt with on a personal level by anyone the ‘victim’ feels willing to share the story with.
If I were to run out, call for these men to be jailed, and blow this story up on the front page of every newspaper across the country, my wife would then be re-victimized by the whole incident. She would be forced to re-live all the horrible things that were done to her as a child. She would be forced to remember and re-process everything she had ever worked through. All of those thoughts and feelings would come rushing back full-force and she would fall into a depressive state. By making the issue into something that serves only myself, I would be harming my wife all over again.
As much as I absolutely despise having to remain silent about it, and as much as I want to see those men fry while hanging from their ball-sacks with their heads in boiling water, I say nothing, because my wife has dealt with the problem (for the most part) and she has handled it in her own way. Bringing things up constantly doesn’t serve to help the victim – it serves to help the person that is pissed off about what some guy did to some girl or vice versa. As much as I want to see those fuckers die a horrible death, it is not my decision – it is hers and hers alone.
This is why I am calling on the mainstream media to let the families involved with what happened deal with the issue on their own terms. Stop throwing lights on every little new piece of ‘evidence’. While I understand the total outrage from the country, it isn’t doing these victims any good by having their lives turned upside down, AGAIN, from something that happened quite a long time ago. Society has no right to the lives of these girls, even if they were on TV. Society does not get to call the shots or ‘demand’ that justice be served. The only people that should have a say in how this moves forward are the girls who suffered at the hands of a deranged teenager.
For the record, my wife agrees with my stance on this issue; she also agrees that a fourteen year old child is going to act in ways that most likely will not reflect their actions as an adult.