As Josh Duggar breaks his silence, the 19 Kids And Counting Duggars family are reacting in various ways to life after the child molestation scandal, which has spread since the first revelation that he molested five underage girls. And while Josh’s sisters, Jessa and Jill Duggar, both have shared updates on social media, Josh’s first posting surprised both fans and those against the reality TV personality, reported People.
Both Josh and wife Anna Duggar used Instagram to share their birthday wishes for their son, Michael James, who turned 4.
“So glad to be in Arkansas celebrating Michael’s 4th birthday,” posted Anna. “We love you Mikey!”
For Anna, Josh’s scandal constitutes only a mistake.
“[His] past teenage mistakes [are forgiven because he] had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended,” said Josh’s wife.
Anna, who is pregnant, had previously posted a message about forgiveness.
And both Jessa, 22, and Jill, 24, who revealed that they were two of the young girls molested by Josh, also defended him in an interview with Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly.
“[Josh is not a] child molester or a pedophile or a rapist [but] a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls,” said Jessa. “[My brother] inappropriately touched [us].”
The “inappropriate touch” occurred when Jessa was between 9 and 10 years old and when Jill was 12. And Jill also defended her brother.
Jill, 24, added that she and the rest of Josh’s victims chose to forgive him once they moved past their anger: “We’ve dealt with it. We’ve already forgiven Josh. We’ve already moved on.”
Just before the child molestation reports broke, Josh had posted a message about doing right.
But apologizing and forgiveness does not heal, said one expert.
“[It’s] not like falling and scraping your knee where it bleeds, it scabs, it heals over,” explained Gail Wyatt, Ph.D., director of the University of California, Los Angeles, Sexual Health program.
“It’s not a normal childhood experience in that sense, that you can blow it off and assume there won’t be repercussions because of it. That Josh apologized is important but does not suggest everything is okay.”
19 Kids And Counting parents Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar also broke their silence, reported Extra.
In their first interview since reports that Josh had molested five underage girls when he was 14, the matriarch and patriarch of the Duggar family described themselves as devastated. But they also contended that the girls were not aware of what had occurred initially.
“Josh came to us. He was crying. He had just turned 14 and he said he had improperly touched some of our daughters,” Jim Bob recalled. “He said he was just curious about girls and he had gone in and just basically touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping. They didn’t even know he had done it.”
Michelle said that in addition to punishing their son in a way that they thought was appropriate, they sent him to counseling in a Christian treatment center. They also implemented what the parents termed as safeguards.
“Nothing ever like that happened again in the girls’ bedrooms. We had safeguards that protected them from that.”
In addition, Josh touched the girls when they were asleep, said Jim Bob.
“[Josh] touched over the couch and actually touched their breasts while they were asleep. This was not rape or anything like that. This was touching over someone’s clothes. There were a couple of incidents where he touched them under their clothes, but it was a few seconds.”
For Anna Duggar, forgiveness came even before she married Josh, as the Inquisitr reported.
She revealed that Duggar had told her two years before he proposed.
Did Anna know even before she married into the famous Duggar family? It now turns out that she was aware of exactly what had happened two years prior to Josh’s marriage proposal.
“I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn’t know why he was sharing it. For Josh, he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was – even very difficult past mistakes.”
[Photo by FOX News Channel via Getty Images]