The Duggar Family Was Interviewed by Megyn Kelly and It Went Exactly As You Would Expect

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Wednesday evening, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting fame sat down for their first interview since the whole world found out their eldest son Josh molested little girls when he was fifteen. Further investigations revealed that Jim Bob and Michelle knew what Josh had done but delayed reporting the incidents and pursuing counseling for Josh and the victims. Eventually, they “punished” Josh with hard labor at a ultra-Christian camp and a stern talking to by a police officer, who was later convicted of possession of child pornography.

Bravely, Ma and Pa Duggar faced the one station that won’t ask any pesky questions like, “Why didn’t you do anything to prevent your son from sexually abusing your other daughters?” or “Why do you insist on using Christianity to justify your messed up points of view?” or “Seriously, guys, what the hell is up with the perm fetish?”

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What, did you think the NPR logo was going to be here or something?

Megyn Kelly had the great misfortune to interview the Duggar heads of household on her show, The Kelly File. I have listed five expectations I had when I watched the interview so let’s see how much they were fulfilled.

Expectation No. 1: “God” and “Jesus” would be referenced. A lot.

Considering that Jim Bob and Michelle are extremely conservative Independent Baptists (they don’t even allow dancing in their home just like in that tiny town in Footloose), I figured that there would be a lot of talk about their religion–and I was right.

Jim Bob used Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep to describe Josh as simply “a sheep who had gone astray” and how the family needed to welcome him back into the fold. Except Josh was a sheep who went astray multiple times and sexually assaulted the shepherd’s family members while on his walkabouts. Josh confessed to his father on three separate occasions about touching his sisters inappropriately, and the Duggars didn’t take any concrete action.

It seems to me that Jim Bob forgot verse 7 of the parable: “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Where the hell was any repentance in this situation? Because all I see is cover ups and denials.

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Expectation No. 2: That darn liberal media would be blamed!

As expected, the Duggars played the victims and claimed that all these pesky questions about their parenting choices were really a thinly veiled attack on their religion. Jim Bob complained that all the media coverage on this scandal was an “unprecedented attack on [his] family.” The media coverage is the unprecedented attack, Jim Bob? Not the actual molestation itself? Oh, okay.

Michelle added that their daughters have been “more victimized these last few weeks more than they were 12 years ago.” While I do agree that the Duggar children who were hurt by Josh deserve privacy during this extremely sensitive and painful time, I find it hard to believe that the media is victimizing the women more than their attacker…or, for that matter, growing up in an religion that instructed them that a women’s first duty was to submit to male authority, refused to discuss sexuality in any way other than to preach modesty, and even circulated pamphlets that suggested that victims of sexual abuse only had themselves to blame.

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Also that winking women are sluts who want to bring mankind down.

Expectation No. 3: Jim Bob and Michelle would dodge any questions as to why they hesitated to report their son’s activities to the police

I don’t know if technically this expectation was fulfilled since Megyn Kelly warned us that she would not be doing any cross-examining in her interview before the segment aired. No dodging necessary! She did ask some of the basic questions everyone has been dying to know but didn’t press for other details, even though some of the Duggars’ statements definitely deserved follow-ups. For example, Jim Bob mentioned that when the Duggars finally agreed to seek outside help for how to deal with Josh, their first instinct was to invite their personal friends to give them advice. Like, how did those conversations even go?  “Hey, Bill, how are the kids? Mine are being a bit rebellious, the little scamps. Listening to that rock music and asking about liberal arts colleges and, uh, inappropriately touching their siblings. Got any advice on how to deal with that?”

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“By the way, do you know what you’re bringing to the bake sale yet?”

Expectation No. 4: Josh Duggar would be painted as the victim. Instead of, you know, the actual people he molested.

As I stated before, Michelle and Jim Bob portrayed their son as a “lost sheep” and discussed the molestation in terms of a “mistake” Josh made. Jim Bob claimed that Josh was simply “just curious about girls and he had gone in and touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping” and we shouldn’t call him a pedophile because Josh was underage at the time so”it was a child preying on a child” and therefore not very serious. Even though the National Child Traumatic Stress Network reports that 23% of child sexual abuse cases are perpetuated by people under the age of 18, including between siblings. Their daughters were briefly mentioned when Michelle assured Megyn that after Josh confessed what he had done, they interviewed the girls to see if they were traumatized and since most of them were too young to understand what happened, the Duggar parents assumed the girls were okay and sent them along their merry way and went on to accept a reality TV show deal instead of proper mental counseling.

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“Buck up, champ. We’ve got a reality show to land.”

Expectation No. 5: You will have to resist the urge to scream into a void about the injustices of the world.

I am amazed at the mental gymnastics the Duggars performed to excuse Josh and themselves from any blame. It’s also astounding as to how many people are still supporting them and attempting to justify their actions. I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers written down somewhere in a book called A Perfect Step-by-Step Plan On What to Do When You Discover a Family Member is Sexually Abusing Another Member, but I can tell you my plan wouldn’t include years of lying, denial, and hypocritically accusing LGBTQ communities of being threats to my family.

For more information on how to identify and report child sexual abuse, visit stopitnow.org or d2l.org.

Susan Velazquez

Susan is a recent college grad and writer who enjoys all things from the 1980s, snarking on dumb television, and reveling in celebrity gossip. Oh, and she has serious interests like reading historical fiction, getting involved in social issues, and consuming French fries.

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  • sewaneepat

    The one thing I do agree with the Duggars about is that one should not call Josh a pedophile. Pedophilia is a very specific disorder and is rare. Most child molesters are not pedophiles. We do not know that Josh’s primary or exclusive attraction is to pre-pubescent girls and, in fact, I would doubt that it is. But he is a molester and they were negligent in doing anything about it after being told over and over about it. If Josh had not made a career out of attacking other people’s sexual orientation, I might be more willing to believe he was truly repentant.