Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar have forgiven their brother for molesting them when they were little girls, but the 19 Kids and Counting stars told Megyn Kelly that it wasn’t easy to get over what he did to them.
Jessa and Jill Duggar’s interview with Megyn Kelly will air tonight on the Fox News Channel at 9 p.m. ET, and Kelly recently chatted with Extra about what the girls said during their harrowing sit-down. According to Kelly, Jessa and Jill were actually “bubbly” and “giggly” when she first met them, but their demeanor drastically changed when she asked them to talk about the abuse that they endured at the hands of their brother over a decade ago.
“The tears started to flow,” Kelly said. “Imagine how painful that would be… they never chose to have this piece of their family story put out there, and I think they are struggling with what people are assuming about their family and about what happened to them.”
Jessa and Jill’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, talked to Megyn Kelly on Wednesday, and they claimed that their daughters are suffering more now than they did when they were actually being molested by their brother. The Duggars have attempted to shift the narrative away from Josh’s crimes and their attempts to protect him from prosecution, and Megyn helped them accomplish this by alleging that Josh Duggar’s police report was illegally released.
In a preview of their interview, Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar try to keep the focus on how the system failed them. However, their parents also failed them by waiting until Josh’s third molestation confession before temporarily taking away his access to his victims.
During tonight’s interview, Jessa and Jill Duggar will talk about how they’ve forgiven their brother.
“They also talked about the journey from the pain to the forgiveness, and it was not without some bumps in the road,” Kelly told Extra.
Jill admitted her brother’s actions made her feel “scared,” “sad,” and “angry.”
In the book Growing Up Duggar, Jessa and Jill talk about what their parents have taught them about forgiveness.
“Even though we might not feel like forgiving someone, we must choose to forgive every person who offends us and do it even before they ask — and regardless of whether they ever do ask,” the girls write. “The choice to forgive doesn’t always free that other person from the consequences of his or her wrong actions, but it frees the forgiver from negative feelings toward the offender. And if we still have feelings of bitterness, the Bible says it’s important not only to forgive the other person, but also to go a step further and look for ways to bless him or her.”
This makes it sound like the girls were expected to get over what happened to them as quickly as possible, and they were actually encouraged to be nicer to their brother after he abused them. On top of all of this, one expert told Hollywood Life that Jill Duggar and Jessa Duggar probably feel responsible for what happened to them.
“Victims of this kind of abuse carry a lot guilt and shame that they somehow have some responsibility in what happened to them,” family therapist Steven Ornstein said. The girls may also be defending Josh Duggar and their parents on TV because they were pressured into helping their family protect its brand.
“The girls feel responsible for what happened, so they go on these news programs and minimize what really happened. You have to realize they have been trained in how to keep this a family secret for all these years.”
During the Megyn Kelly interview, Jessa Duggar tried to minimize Josh’s actions by saying that people are going “overboard” when they refer to him as a child molester. People shared a short excerpt of the interview, and Jessa takes a page from her parents by explaining Josh’s actions as innocent curiosity.
“Josh was a boy, a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls, and that got him into some trouble. And he made some bad choices, but, really, the extent of it was mild – inappropriate touching on fully clothed victims, most of it while [the] girls were sleeping.”
According to ABC News, Jill Duggar also defended her family by saying that it’s not fair to call them hypocrites. For years the Duggars have preached about how they keep their daughters “pure” by enforcing a strict dress code, banning them from kissing until they’re married, monitoring their text messages and phone calls, and making sure that they always have a chaperone whenever they’re out on a date. However, their restrictive rules failed protect their daughters from their own son.
“Well, I think that you know some people, I’ve heard them say you know ‘you’re hypocrites,'” Jill said. “Well if you go back and look at everything people that have seen in our lives, in television you know, we’ve never claimed to be a perfect family; my parents have always actually stated you know, we are not a perfect family.”
Do you think Jessa Duggar and Jill Duggar will spend most of tonight’s interview defending their brother and their parents?
[Image via Duggar Family Instagram]