Fans have grown increasingly concerned about the well-being of those in the Duggar family mega-clan. In 2015, news that Josh Duggar, the eldest of the 19 siblings, had molested his sisters was brought to light. While most Duggar fans have decided to ignore it and forgive Josh, there are many who are instead taking the time to criticize the family for its loyal adherence to their church.
A woman named Jennifer recently spoke out about her experience with the Duggar family’s church. The family is known to be associated with Bill Gothard at his Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and Jennifer, like the Duggar children, was raised with the same foundation.
According to Jennifer, it is not only normal for men to become predatory, but it is also normal for young women to be treated like second mothers. This phenomenon has been observed with the Duggar family, especially as Jana Duggar, who remains unmarried at 28, still lives at home.
The older Duggar daughters, Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger earned the nickname amongst critics as the collective J’Slaves, as it always seemed as though they were doing something around the house that mothers often do.
Jennifer also stated that there was a lot of women blaming in the community and that it caused girls to blame themselves for being raped or sexually molested.
She goes into detail of some of her experience in the In Touch Weekly article.
“I internalized all of the teachings and brought them back home with me. So for example, there are a lot of physical requirements with IBLP. The physical requirements weren’t enforced to that degree at home (I wore shorts as a kid), but by the time I got home from my time in the training center, I was wearing skirts all of the time because I had been told that I was immodest otherwise, and I didn’t want to cause myself to be raped. There is a lot of victim and women-blaming in that cult.”
She also explains that children were taught that anything bad that happens to them is a direct result of their upbringing or ability to please God. If something good happened, they had been good. If something bad happened to anyone in the family, it was a direct result of being a bad person.
According to Jennifer, the women, as we see with the Duggar girls, are raised to have no expectations of an outside job and are told they will be homemakers when they get older. She also states that higher education is frowned upon because they are expected to get married and have children right away.
Another woman named Joy stated that although she had some choice in who her husband would be, her father was instrumental in helping pick him out. This inspired a lot of dread for the young woman.
“I couldn’t do what I wanted to do unless I had parental permission. I remember being petrified of who my father would choose to be my husband. I remember one guy coming over frequently and thinking, ‘Oh my god, do I have to marry him? Oh, the horror.’ Or being frightened that whoever I married would make me wear skirts the rest of my life. It was like being boxed in.”
Joy also says that the Duggar family should not be idolized, despite the fact that many Christians look up to their family for guidance.
“The perceived wholesomeness of the family’s lives is merely a veneer. There’s a lot of rottenness under there. The Duggar girls who were molested by their brother, they’re not allowed to say they feel violated or that they’re angry. You certainly can’t say you’re angry. But there will be a time when that anger comes to the surface, and they won’t know what to do with it.”