AUTHOR: Former gymnast offers thoughts on the case of Josh Duggar.

A reader referred me to this thread of Twitter comments on the release of Josh Duggar while awaiting trial on charges related to his alleged addiction toviewing images of adults sexually assaulting children, some reportedly as young as 18 months old.

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The thread is by Rachel Denhollander. She’s a lawyer and former Michigan State gymnast who was the first to accuse Larry Nasar, the doctor who sexually assaulted gymnasts. She wrote a book about the Nasar case and his ultimate unmasking.

She writes on Twitter of how the Duggar case illustrates problems in the Duggars’ brand of conservative culture and the legal system. A portion:

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It’s pretty much guaranteed that somewhere along the way Anna knew Josh still had a porn addiction, but she was left to deal with it and fix it in silence and on her own, because that’s how we counsel couples in Christian circles. “Submission” becomes a catch-phrase to protect.
She certainly couldn’t tell anyone, because that would not be respectful. That’s how we counsel wives in these marriages.

But she was certainly taught to have sex more to fix it. Her own mother-in-law wrote blog articles that said as much.

When Josh was arrested, his father began calling people in the church asking them to be Josh’s custodian until trial, so that he could be released on bail. He found a man willing to take him in. Except that man’s wife teaches piano lessons to children, and…
she was not comfortable having Josh home with her all day, because she would be alone with him while her husband was at work.

That didn’t matter to the husband, however. She has to find a new place to teach all those children because her husband wants Josh to live with them.

Every single family who takes piano from her, and the wife herself, has to uproot their routine, livelihood and the child’s music education, because Josh. Everyone is expected to bear the cost, except Josh.
And the wife’s own very reasonable fears about being alone all day with a man who enjoys the sexual torture of toddlers didn’t matter to the husband either.

The FBI agent recommended that Josh be kept in custody, especially since the wife was afraid to have him in the home.

But when she was called to the witness stand and asked if she was in agreement with having Josh live with them, she responded that “her husband had made the decision, and she was here to support him.”
Because under that theology he has the authority and her job is to submit.
So Josh was released. And not just released, but released with visitation rights to his own children who are, by the way, in the exact age demographics of the children he was watching being sexually tortured. Anna is required to supervise the visits. And she will.
She can’t protect her children from their father, or push him out of the home. It would be unsubmissive. And God hates divorce. Cherry-picked and twisted theology yes, but much easier than hard exegesis and the long work of helping a wife and children escape a dangerous marriage.

 

She concludes:

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Each man in the situation, from Josh’s dad, (who isn’t protecting his own grandkids or caring about the risks to anyone else), to the judge, to the husband who decided it was fine despite his wife’s very justified fear, make the decisions. 
The women and children who pay the price, are expected to submit, forgive, and support, no matter how foolish or wicked the decision. 
This is the exact same mindset that allowed this to happen in the first place, when so many were warning years ago that the minimization and sin-leveling were signs that this wasn’t in control and wasn’t being taken seriously. 
The cost and impact is being born by everyone but the perpetrator, and the men given free reign to be “leaders”. This is abusive culture. This is toxic Christianity. This is not manhood. This is not womanhood. This is depraved. 
And the worst part is, I know literally hundreds of women on the receiving end of this garbage. Josh, and this situation, aren’t the anomaly. They are the norm.
Because we actually don’t think it’s that big of a deal.