Sex, Lies and Reality Television: The Duggar Disappointment

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Michelle Jim Bob Josh Duggar TLC Critical Blast

There's more than once in my life that I've engaged in the schadenfreude that comes with some personality's fall from grace. But in the case of the Duggar family and the recent cover-up scandal of sexual misconduct by a (then) 14-year-old Josh Duggar, I'm overcome with disappointment.

It's saddening, and not without its own "ick" factor, when one considers some of the victims were his sisters -- which may hardly be surprising given that they were fairly much the only girls with whom he had constant contact while going through puberty in a structure that proscribes any form of dating. Hormones are a hell of a chemical.

This doesn't mean that I think the adult Joshua Duggar is any sort of threat to children, although I've certainly heard many concerns along these lines. The fact is, however, that the great majority of juvenile sex offenders do not continue their fixation into adulthood. The U.S. Department of Justice data backs that up.

Some of them even write books about it, as Lena Dunham did, but that's okay because it's "totally normal" when it's between sisters, as reported by Slate's Melinda Wenner Moyer.

The biggest problem here is that it was covered up, and was continued to be covered up. And that's hardly exclusive to the Duggar family. What parent's wouldn't want to sweep such an incident under the rug, hoping that it was "a phase" or other passing humiliation for the entire family? Parents always have to learn from their oldest child, and thus hopefully become better prepared for the younger children when they reach the same stage of life. And this particular kind of disgrace is, unfortunately, not as uncommon as we'd like to think. That doesn't, however, excuse Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar for not taking a stronger hand in things when it repeated a second time, a cover-up begin by them which, because of TLC's involvement and contracts between the family and the network, the adult Josh had to continue.

The media maelstrom has brought out the fight and flight response in a lot of people, both supporters and detractors. Many who support the family ironically engage in a shoot the messenger approach, blaming the tabloid InTouch magazine for digging around for the information.

Since the information came to light, Josh Duggar has come forward stating that God has forgiven him. And He probably has. It seems sad, however, that seeking God's forgiveness for sins is usually precipitated by man's discovery of those sins. I'm less interested in having an adult apologize for things done as a child, and more interested in adults apologizing for covering it all up, placing their children in the position of having to carry on the façade.


For ongoing coverage of the Josh Duggar story, check out our friends at FreakOutNation.


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