The Duggar family made one final appearance on TLC in the Breaking the Silence sex abuse special. TLC quickly pulled 19 Kids and Counting from their line-up after it was discovered that Josh Duggar had molested young girls, including his sisters Jill and Jessa, when he was a teen. However, after pulling the show, the Duggars released a statement that they would be working on one more project with the network in the form of a sex abuse special. Despite a lot of media attention placed on the fact the Duggars would be included in the show, the actual special only focused briefly on the Duggar family. The rest of the time was spent focused on Erin Merryn, a survivor of two childhood sexual abuse incidents who is now an advocate and lobbyist for “Erin’s Law.”
The focus on Merryn’s work seemed to pay off with many noting that the hour-long special was highly informative and powerful. Writer Andrea Reiher with Zap2It notes that TLC did a good job focusing on the core problems with child abuse and bringing awareness to Merryn’s cause.
“This law, which has been passed in 26 states, aims to ‘educate children in public schools on sexual abuse prevention through age appropriate curriculum through role plays, discussions, activities, and books giving children the tools to speak up and tell if anyone has ever touched them inappropriately rather than keep it a secret.'”
Though the Duggar family was not the focus of the sex abuse special, they were included in a section dedicated to the organization Darkness to Light. The Duggar daughters Jill and Jessa attended a Darkness to Light conference with their mother Michelle and commented about what they had learned. Jessa spoke to the fact that she felt sex abuse should not be a “taboo” subject and that we need to open up the discussion regularly.
“I feel like this should be a discussion people are having, even regularly. I think that it shouldn’t be a taboo subject, that we should be bringing awareness to child sexual abuse and talking about this.”
Jessa also discussed how she was going to use the information she learned in her own growing family.
“[I learned] things I can do to be more aware, things I can do to set up boundaries safeguards for my child and children, hopefully, in the future.”
Michelle also commented on the program noting that she was “so glad” she was able to go to the seminar with her daughters and learn.
“I was so glad that my girls and I were able to do this together and that we could just be a support and encouragement to each other to be able to gain more information about this important topic.”
Though Jill did not appear directly in the segment, she did attend the conference and told People Magazine that it is “amazing” that there are so many other families that have gone through the same things as she has in her family.
“It’s amazing to understand that there are so many people that deal with this exact same thing in their own families.”
Do you think TLC handled the sex abuse special appropriately? What about the Duggar family?
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