by Taylor Williamson, Writing Intern
The public craves controversy and drama. So the social media uproar over the molestation rumors concerning the television series 19 Kids And Counting comes as no surprise. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the like overflowed with comments from the hashtag #CancelTheDuggars, to express cruel statements regarding the family.
Following the news, when accusations arose regarding one of the eldest children, astonishment and surprise overtook the media. Various leaked police reports were flying around the web, stating the eldest son, Josh Duggar, inappropriately touched underage girls, including his younger sisters when he was a teenager. According to CNN, Josh Duggar confessed to some of his actions: “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...."Duggar also stated in a report from ABC he “would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions.” Yes, he was a teenager at the time, but even teenagers are know the difference between right and wrong. While human beings are prone to making mistakes, some have greater consequences than others. If a man desires to inappropriately touch a minor, does that desire disappear? Most offenders relapse and commit similar crimes.
In the wake of a furious social media frenzy, the network, TLC, hastily pulled the long running television series. The network also stated, “We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time.” 19 Kids and Counting centers on a heavily Christian family with strict rules regarding relationships and it seems the more children they have the better. In preparation for their marriage, the women plan their wedding day around their ovulation cycle in hopes that they will become pregnant as soon as possible. This show aired for fifteen long seasons and was preparing for another season before the rumors began to spread.
With this knowledge, it seems worrisome to grant a man, who previously abused minors, permission to be near his young daughters and young sisters. He should be in rehab and getting help. The family knew about these accusations, however, and they hid this . . . darkness. Hiding the truth damages their credibility and makes people question what other secrets they might be keeping. Who’s to say there weren’t more children who were victim to Josh Duggar? How many times did he abuse his younger siblings? The big question still remains, what will happen with his own daughters? Should he be allowed so close to his children?
The overall question on the public’s mind is what else are they hiding and how much worse can it be?
Following the world wide scandal after much time has passed, many people are rallying for the Duggars in hopes of continuing the popular reality show. People praised the Duggars--glorifying them for changing their lives for the better. A fan wrote, “My heart has changed so much watching you all....” These overwhelmingly positive responses from fans illustrate how even though the family buried a scandal, they continue to receive love and support from many people. Despite the fan support, many people still side with The TLC Network for discontinuing the show.
Following the media scrutiny, the family agreed to an interview to set the record straight. In the interview, the family discussed how they overlooked the eldest son’s actions, claiming it was biology and saying how the media investigation was worse than the actual abuse. The family created an excuse for the son, and claimed that the sisters were unaware of the abuse; he touched them while they slept. If this is true, Duggar stripped his youngest sisters of their innocence by entering their safe environment and hurting them. In the interview, the parents admitted to attaching locks on the bedroom doors and banning the game hide-and-seek. No one knows besides the victims or Duggar what really happened, or if he found a way around those safety guards.
The family also blamed biology. Yes, young boys who just enter puberty experience changes in their body and the way they view members of the opposite sex. This doesn’t justify his behavior. The family promised they underwent therapy, but, there’s no guarantee that they went, or if it really helped.
On the question of is Duggar still a danger to young girls, psychologist Sharon Lamb stated, “It is possible Josh is no longer a threat.” Only time will tell at this point whether he has changed. Following the shocking scandal, the family minus Josh and his wife were pictured spending quality time together.
To this day, there is still no formal announcement to officially end the series. Some people find this strange and upsetting. One person in particular who finds this reaction unsettling is June Shannon from the cancelled television show Here comes Honey Boo Boo. She believes, “TLC is coddling the Duggars and are even backing them up, amid the scandal. They have a lot of high exec people hanging out with them.” Oddly, TLC seems to be pondering and debating their plans for the show. The show had a great fifteen year run; it’s time to say goodbye.
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Schumann, Rebecka. "Jana Duggar Spends Time With Younger Siblings Amid '19 Kids And Counting' Molestation Scandal." International Business Times. June 15, 2015. Accessed June 17, 2015.
Grossbart, Sarah. "Years after Josh Duggar Molested His Sisters, the Family Insists He's a Changed Man." The Edge. June 15, 2015. Accessed June 17, 2015.
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