The Duggars have always been in favor of homeschooling, and they have always implemented a very specific — and controversial — homeschooling curriculum from Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute. In light of the discovery that the eldest Duggar son, Josh, has sexually abused at least five little girls as a teenager, some of whom are believed to have been his own sisters, the shocking section of the homeschooling curriculum that deals with potential sexual abuse has come under even more scrutiny.
Bill Gothard, the founder of Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) who developed the curriculum used by the Duggars, has faced his own accusations of sexual harassment against as many as 30 women. He eventually resigned from his leadership position.
But the curriculum he developed is still in place.
To begin with, the lessons seem to remove blame from the perpetrator and instead shift it onto the victim, as well as the parents. In one example, where a boy molests his younger sisters, the sisters are condemned for dressing immodestly, and the parents are also shamed for “exposing the boy to temptation” through the act of having him change his sister’s diapers.
“Modesty was a factor. It was not at the level it should have been in my family. It was not uncommon for my younger siblings to come out of their baths naked or with a towel. They would often run around the house for the next twenty minutes until my mom or sister got around to dressing them. Changing my younger sisters’ diapers when they were really young may not have been a big thing, but it really did not have to be that way[…] My younger sisters used to wear dresses often, but as they were young and not aware of modesty, they did not behave in them as they should.”
“Mom did not push the modesty unless we were in public, and Dad only had the opportunity to mention it during weekends. Little people do not realize their nakedness right away…[My mother] explained to me that she had no idea how visual male sexuality is, compared to women who are mainly by touch. I am so grateful my parents have changed so much of this area in our home.”
“A different lifestyle, with more modesty, might have prevented what happened.”
The perpetrator clearly feels comfortable with placing blame on others while never admitting that the real issue to blame is his own lack of self control.
When counseling sexual abuse, the curriculum is equally as forgiving to the perpetrator while shifting the blame onto the victim. “What parts did the offender damage?” the curriculum asks, and then answers the question with another question. “What parts do we damage with bitterness and guilt?”
“Why did God let it happen?” another section asks, and the leading answer to that is “immodest dress” followed by “indecent exposure,” which is then followed by “being out of the protection of parents.”
Nowhere does it suggest that the abuser is at fault. Instead, the curriculum continues to ask what the victim could have done in order to prevent the abuse. At one point, the curriculum even asks “If the abused is not at fault” — as if, for the most part, the abused actually is at fault. If this was the only counselling that the victims of Josh Duggar — and perhaps Josh Duggar himself — received, then the crime against the victims has been compounded by forcing them to wonder if there was something they themselves had done, or hadn’t done, or shouldn’t have done, that culminated in their bodies being assaulted sexually.
What do you think?
For more on the child molestation accusations against Josh Duggar, click here.
[Images via CBN News and Mother Jones]