If You Were the Duggars...

Considering the sensitive nature of the topic itself, compounded by those involved being the Duggars and the recency of the controversy I hesitated between putting this thread here or in Great Debates. The mods should feel free to move wherever its appropriate.
The question here is simple. What would you have done if you were in the same position as Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, where several of your daughters told you that their 15-year old brother had been openly touching them on the breasts and genital areas both when sleeping and awake?

Same thing I’d do if I weren’t the Constant Breeders. Ask the kid about it, not let him be alone with his sisters, and put him in therapy. He’s young enough that it’s possible this isn’t a lifelong pattern of behavior, but he needs to learn self-control, and someone who is a professional needs to figure out if there’s something organically wrong with him. He might need intensive behavior modification therapy, or medication. If the therapist suggests that he should see a neurologist, that all needs immediate and faithful follow-up.

Well, let’s see. The first thing I would have done is close the baby factory, seeing direct evidence of what my combined genetic material was producing.

Beyond that, I agree with RivkaChayah, therapy and separation.

In these uber-Christian repressive environments, children rarely are given any sexual information and curiousity is natural. In more permissive environments, many kids have a look at what the other gender has to offer when bodies start changing. Usually there isn’t touching involved, but “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” encounters usually happen at 11 or 12, not 14. By the time you reach 14, such curiousity is no longer intellectual only and starts veering into the and of the very creepy and inappropriate.

Still and all, he may have been pretty naive and not understood the full ramifications of what he’d done. I would have gotten him to a psychological professional immediately and let them make that determination. If it were only a case of curiousity gotten out of hand, heading it off quickly and professionally might have been enough. If it was determined that more was involved, continuing psychological treatment would have been a wise idea. Perhaps a prolonged visit to the grandparents could have occurred while things were being sorted out.

I certainly wouldn’t have simply repressedit and tried to ‘pray it away’ with an enormous houseful of young girls put at risk.

Pretty much the same as Rivkah. Young teens are going through a lot of changes and they do a lot of stupid, inappropriate and even harmful things. This is one reason our justice system largely tries and sentences juvenile crimes differently from adult crimes. Putting a sex crime on a kid’s record is going to screw things up for life.

On the other hand, a “stern talking to” a year after the fact seems too anemic of a response. We should be looking at this like other harmful juvenile crimes. What if he’d beaten up a sibling? Intentionally set his bedroom on fire? Shoplifted? Started using/selling drugs? With all of these things, I’d think that some kind of therapy or counseling would be warranted. We need to assess whether this was a stupid impulse decision or a response to a driving urge, and teach the kid about how to handle their feelings in an appropriate manner.

Also, with this kind of skeleton in my closet, I would be absolutely insane to star in a major reality show, hold myself up as a public example of virtue, and represent a political organization that’s obsessed with sex as an issue. Did they really think this wouldn’t ever come out? :smack:

Just stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. You attract enough attention and everything comes to light eventually.

One incident? Immediate therapy for him and the victims. Multiple incidents? Police and therapy for everyone followed by sending Josh away to boarding school or a far away relative in a different state for at least several years. They’re shitty parents with no excuses. The youngest victim was four. FOUR. This isn’t a fourteen year old dating a sixteen year old. This is an eighth grader touching a kid in pre-k. That’s not normal behavior and it should not be treated lightly.

Having been the victim in this situation (although only 3 years younger than my brother), I can say with complete and utter confidence: I don’t have a *fucking *clue.

It’s easy to say “Separate! Boarding school! Police!” when you’re not looking at a son you love who has done a heinous thing. When you’re not holding a hysterical younger child begging you not to send her beloved big brother away.

Therapy? Absolutely, for all of us. Like, real, documented, legit therapy. Beyond that…I just don’t know, and pray I never have to figure it out.

Out-patient therapy after the first offense.

After the second offense, I’d be working with a social worker to get him placed in a special residential setting. I don’t know if there are any that are devoted to teenage boys with sexual behavioral problems outside of the criminal justice system, but if there is such a place, that’s where I’d send him. At any rate, I can’t see myself allowing him to stay in the house, walking around like a regular family member. Maybe the first offense could be chalked up to “poor choices”. But a re-offender has a serious problem. I think it would irresponsible of me as a citizen not to involve the police after the third offense.

At first I was tempted to say I wouldn’t presume the girls need therapy. Not all sexual abuse victims are deeply traumatized. But I wouldn’t know what signs to look out for. It’s also not likely that therapy would make things worse. Hell, maybe I’d put all the kids in therapy. Even if they’re all perfectly normal, the one-on-one attention they’d get from a therapist would be valuable to them. Though, I guess it would be mighty difficult for me to keep track of all those different appointments. Damn God sticking his nose in my bedroom!! Why can’t he be more concerned about Indian heatwaves and killer tornados?!

Yes, my logical non parent brain says it’s cut and dried and I would definitely put the kids, all of them separately, in counseling and possibly send the offender away for the same kind of therapy the Duggars reserve for potential homosexuals. Looking once when you’re 10 or 11 is very different than touching repeatedly at 14-15 and common sense says he needed help.

However, as parents and/or sisters deciding whether to let your kid suffer further, to miss your kid for weeks or months, or even to accept that he is a criminal and/or sociopath? That decision wouldn’t be nearly as simple.
Then there’s the whole Fundie thing to consider, wherein they let Jesus, not their brains, tell them what to do.

I’d throw away the goddamn Quiverfull manual and watch my first R-rated movie!! :smiley:

I do know what I would not do. I would not go around for the next several years pointing out what I consider other people’s sexual “sins” while pretending like I’m an authority on who is and isn’t corrupting the youth of America. I would also be a lot more concerned with my daughters, who were the victims.

Yeah, I agree with the broad sentiments here. I’d recognize I don’t have the expertise to deal with this stuff and look at professional therapy. I’d watch him like a hawk in the house and I’d work to make sure if necessary he get placed in some sort of residential group home if a professional told me that was necessary.

Due to being culturally ignorant (at least of pop culture) I actually only very vaguely knew who the Duggars were before all of this, but I will say that I do find some of the representations of this to be somewhat unfair in the media. Most of the news headlines focus on the fact that Josh did this, but bury it deep in the text that hey, he was a minor at the time. I’m not at all saying that makes it “okay”, but I think evidence has shown at the very least that minors if at all possible (and it isn’t always) should not be dealt with by the criminal justice system. Hell, same thing goes for adults when their crimes are not so serious they ethically require severe punishment.

I definitely would not deal with this the way the Duggars did, in which they basically made him do some extra chores for a family friend as punishment and prayed on it a lot. That’s just hiding the issue and doing nothing to fix it. To be honest I’m not surprised aberrant behavior crops up among children that are very likely totally insulated from any sort of basic education about their bodies and basic sexuality and what little they know about it they’re taught that it’s wrong or sinful. That sort of repression isn’t at all healthy and could very well have been the cause of Josh’s misbehavior as he hit some of the most raging parts of puberty.

Put on a pot of Folgers and see what comes up.

I prefer popcorn and M&M’s.

HA! Are you referring to that oddly incestuous Maxwell House or Folgers commercial??

Of course.

Much of the condemnation comes because he’s spent his most of his time as an adult piously screeching about how the rest of us should live our lives. So according to him divorce sucks and so do gays, abortion, stem cell research and birth control. But we should all forgive him for molesting his sisters because JESUS.

We don’t know if he’s done it again or he’s still doing it. There’s nothing unfair about how he’s been portrayed in the media. If anything, the media should have done far more to point out exactly who he and his family are a long time ago.

One potential consideration. Arkansas has a mandatory reporting rule covering these situations. Once a therapist is aware of even a claim of sexual abuse he/she has a very small window of time in which to report it.

Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect: Summary of State Laws (pdf)

Looks like there might be a slight loophole under clergy-penitent which I suppose could be invoked if the therapist were under some form of clerical umbrella.

This would make it difficult to find professional therapy for anyone involved because they would have to report it and then CPS would come out and who knows what they would do.

So in a way trying to keep this in the family and work things out in the family would probably be my first response. The second is to recognize your family size has gotten out of hand and to stop having kids and reorganize how all the kids are being cared for (maybe have a grandparent or another adult move in). Third is to NOT do the reality tv show thing. If they hadn’t been on tv nobody outside the family would have known and it would have been just another family secret (which every family has).

I once had a pastor who had a very public persona and he mentioned the difficulty of having to lose ones privacy.

In addition to everything mentioned above, I would probably not say that rape and incest are crimes deserving of execution, as Jim Bob did.

I understand that these parents did not want to write off their teenage son as an irredeemable monster. But we all know that Josh’s “treatment” was a complete joke, the girls never received proper counseling, and the family profited enormously from their public hypocrisy.

This reminds me of those hypocrites at Alcoholics Anonymous who spend literally years of their lives drinking like fish and then suddenly get all preachy about how other people shouldn’t use drugs or alcohol.