As the sad, sordid story of Josh Duggar’s molestation of his sisters and his parents’ cover up continues to unfold, one story isn’t being told: what happens to young girls when they become soiled virgins. Even though the family, including the girls themselves, are trying to downplay the molestation, forced sexual activity at a young age causes lifelong harm to women, especially those who pledge to remain “pure” until marriage. SuzyKnew! provides a fresh feminist, Christian perspective on this topic rarely covered by the media.
The Bible teaches us that our bodies are temples and we should keep them pure. Ephesians 5:5 states For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. As Christians – very conservative Christians – it is certain the Duggar girls took these teachings to heart. Denial, fear, dispair or all three emotions must have run through their minds when they were molested by their brother at such a young age. Losing their purity to their brother, the Duggar girls may have fallen into depression or acted out in other ways that may have also been covered up by the family. How could Jesus – or their future husbands – still love them?
These feelings are best explained by a quote found on the Response Church website from a young woman who lost her purity but kept her virginity-
I was alone, ashamed and had no one to talk to. I was so confused because I still had my virginity. I grew up in the church and so many of the teachings on purity was about being a virgin for your husband. So, why was I so consumed with the shame and disappointment as if I had had sex? Even though I maintained my virginity, I gave away my purity. It was clear to me that my actions in that moment were not acceptable to God’s standards. When I chose to be impure, I butchered the gift of purity in which Jesus died for. I realized that if I did not value my purity, a gift God gave me…
Even though the girls did not consent to the molestation they may have wondered if their dress, actions or behavior may have caused their brother Josh to act inappropriately, leaving them feeling guilty. Many conservative Christian thinkers blame women for rape and molestation, calling these occurrences signs of moral failures, making it very hard for these girls and women to heal and find peace. 1 Peter 5:8 states Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. How horrible to realize your own brother is the adversary you have to be watchful of. Josh Duggar’s touching happened in the bed, during chores and other places in the home. The Duggar sisters’ innocence was robbed from them.
Wearing the purity rings given to them as teenagers by their parents may have given the young sisters something physical to feel that their impurity was being washed away. But no one knows deep the trauma was or what the girls may still be going through. Jessa and Jill admitted to being among their brother Josh’s victims but the eldest Jana has not spoken out. Even if she wasn’t among the brother’s targets, she most likely knew what was going on and also saw how her parents turned a blind eye for so long. Is this partially why Jana Duggar remains unmarried while her younger sisters have already left the household for marriage? Is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) preventing her from bonding with a male after witnessing violation by men firsthand at home?
Neither Jill nor Jessa wore a white dress for her wedding. Many speculate it’s because they slept with their fiances before the wedding. But, maybe the girls refused to wear white because they knew their brother had already taken their purity when they were very young.
In their book Growing Up Duggar, the women explain courtship and their brand of traditional relationships below, revealing how deeply painful and conflicted this molestation must have left them regardless of their public statements:
The girl may so yearn to feel valued and accepted by a male that she gives in to the boy’s desires. But too often the boy’s ‘love’ for her turns out to be fleeting, and the girl is left cast off and degraded. From there, things can easily spiral downward as the girl’s yearning to feel valued intensifies and she seeks acceptance from the next boy who comes along. We hear from a lot of girls in this painful situation.
As many conservative Christians would see it, Jill and Jessa Duggar were not pure for their husbands. They had been violated in the worst way: genital touching by a family member. Adding salt to the wound, the girls’ parents dismissed the violation as no big deal because most of the times the girls had their clothes on. The Duggars are more concerned about how people got the police reports to tell the story than the lifetime permanent damage left on their daughters. They do not realize that they have failed as Christian parents to protect the one singular thing devout Christian and other religious parents strive for: the purity and virginity of their daughters.
It’s one thing if your daughter gets carried away in the back of a car seat and gives it up but it’s something totally different when a young girl is soiled without consent right under her parents’ roof with their knowledge.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1;24-25
SuzyKnew!’s last article on the Duggar’s pointed out that it is not God’s plan for women is not to be degraded and discounted by their families, as what has happened to the Duggar girls.
But, we don’t chose our families.
And, all sins are washed clean with the blood of Jesus.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep the Duggar girls’ – and their family’s – hearts and minds in Christs Philippians 4:7
Photo: courtesy of RunningThroughTheStorms.com, DuggarFamily.com