Whether you agree with the Duggars’ deeply conservative, anti-gay politics or not, one would think that fans and non-fans could join forces over the fact that Josh Duggar’s admitted sex crimes of fondling underage girls, including his siblings, some in their sleep, are despicable. Not so fast! Here are seven defenses put forward in the comments section of the Duggar family’s official response on Facebook, and our response.
He’s not the only one who’s committed such crimes, so cut him some slack
“The thing is, there are LOADS of cases of molestation with teens within their own families. Probably every single person reading this has at least ONE person in their family that molested another young family member or friend when they themselves were young. Kids don't tell 90% of the time. Doesn't make it right, but it does even the playing field. Know what the difference is? THIS family teaches good morals, so instead of Josh or the girls hiding it, authorities were called, counseling was sought and forgiveness was given. Everyone who is bitter about it probably just had a similar experience and are pissed that their family wasn't as strong as this one so it was never dealt with."
There are plenty of questions about what kind of “counseling” Duggar actually received; according to In Touch, “Michelle Duggar later admitted to police that Josh did not receive counseling and instead had been sent during that time to a family friend who was in the home remodeling business.” While we’ve had public statements from his parents, we have yet to hear anything from his victims, so it’s unclear whether forgiveness was actually given. Also: What on earth does other people’s suffering have to do with Duggar’s guilt?
His apology was effort enough
“It is not mine to forgive but nonetheless I do and look forward for you to use this opportunity to work with others who have struggled with similar or like actions and educate them on how to turn away from such behavior. I'm sure it is the last thing you want to revisit but you can help so many boys and girls and probably already have by making this public statement. Be strong and don't let the negative reaction play over and over in your head. You have a lot of supporters, lean on them, let their words wash over you as you all pick up and move forward.”
This commenter identifies herself as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, yet it’s unclear how exactly Duggar’s statement, which offers the barest apology possible, and very little true contrition, will be helpful to victims.
It’s the media’s fault
“I am so incredibly sorry that you're even having to post this on your Facebook page.
"The media can be shameless & so hurtful. My family has experienced the media's lack of knowledge and truth trying to make something out of a mistake & it was so incredibly hurtful to our family. To feel as though you have truth and you're fighting a massive giant such as the media can be so frustrating.”
Yes, it’s always awful when media organizations do their jobs and expose acts such as this.
Jesus is cool with Josh Duggar
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The great news is HE loves us and forgives us. If HE in his infinite wisdom and grace can forgive us then who are we not to forgive ?”
Because we are all imperfect, Josh Duggar’s crimes don’t matter.
Duggar didn’t take the “easy way out”
“I admire the strength it took to come forward and be honest in your mistakes... The easy way out would have been to burry [sic] it and deny the allegations. No one would have probably believed it anyway! But for you all to stand up, admit wrong doing, and face people... That's how you know you're doing something right. If only more people could face their teen mistakes like you Josh, we might live in a vastly different society!”
Actually, the Duggars collectively worked hard to make sure this story didn’t see the light of day, rather than using it as a way to truly bring this problem to light. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), “15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12” and “Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.” What are the Duggars doing “right” to combat this broader problem?
Duggar is all grown up and has changed his life
“At least he took the actions to change his life around! Obviously Josh is living a good life. A wonderful family, a beautiful wife, and 4 children. Everyone will make mistakes in life but at least Josh admitted it! Most people would never even tell anyone until things got out of hand.”
Again, the focus here is entirely on Josh Duggar, and not on the lives of his victims. There’s not even a mention of what they might have been going through or a consideration that changing their lives may not be so easy.
What he did really wasn’t so bad
“You raised 19 children, suffered a miscarriage and one child strays. He fondled did not rape of [sic] molest. I bet 85% on [sic] families in the western world have had children explore each other. As one said, she read a book.. You took responsibility and dealt with it. So many parents bury it, or refuse to believe the incident happened. Bless you and your family. All who love you and all you love. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
"If God can forgive him.. who are you who do not know the story to judge.”
Most nauseating of all, by equating childhood sexual “exploration” with Duggar’s crime, this person conflates the two and essentially blames the victims. Also: We may not know the whole story, but we do now know plenty of it. Thankfully, enough to get TLC to pull “19 Kids and Counting” from its lineup.