By now, you've probably heard about the Duggar dirty laundry that all over the Internet. In a nutshell, Josh Duggar, the oldest son of the "19 Kids and Counting" Duggar family, has admitted to molesting several young girls as a teenager. In case you missed the story, you can read In Touch's take on it here.
I have always liked the Duggars in a fascinated, "damn, that's a lot of kids to give birth to, Michelle," kind of way. I've watched the show here and there, although I've never been what you'd call an avid follower. I thought they seemed like nice people and although I don't agree with their belief system or their politics, I enjoyed tuning in from time to time. Maybe it was my fascination with the large amount of hairspray Jim Bob used or the epic size of their laundry room. Who knows?
I always rolled my eyes at the Judgy McJudgersons that liked to spout the "too many kids" litany. I think family size is a matter for... well, for the family concerned and although 19 kids would make me want to sit in a corner drinking straight vodka and shredding Kleenex, I don't think I get to say how many is too many for another family.
There's a lot of hate being fired at Josh Duggar on the Internet today. Maybe he deserves it. Maybe he doesn't. Maybe he's been waiting for the other shoe to drop for years and maybe he's a little bit relieved that he doesn't have to worry and wonder when someone is going to learn his dirty secrets.
It seems everyone has an opinion on the Duggars. TLC has cancelled the show. Josh Duggar has resigned his position with the Family Research Council and has made a public apology, admitting to "acting inexcusably."
But, what about the girls?
Who are they? Did they get help? Do their hearts bear scars about being fondled by a teenage boy when they were as young as 5 years old?
Are there more girls who haven't been identified or who didn't speak up? Josh Duggar's actions were covered up and hushed up. He might have come clean with his parents, but no effort was made to get him any sort of professional help. The incidents were neatly swept under the rug, probably festering in the minds of the secret-keepers like ticking time bombs.
But, what about the girls?
Will more step forward in the coming days and say "me too?" Will the knowledge of "it's not just me" cause someone else to raise their hand? Time will tell.
Someone touched me in my sleep when I was 14. I woke up when I felt unwelcome hands on my breasts through my nightgown. I rolled over and crossed my arms tightly over my chest, pretending I never woke up. Mercifully, it stopped. The hands belonged to a boy my own age... the brother of a friend.
The next morning, I told an adult, not one of my parents but an adult I trusted.
"It's not a big deal. Just forget about it. I'm sure it was nothing and I bet it won't happen again."
14-year-old me believed these words: It's not a big deal.
Being touched when you don't want to be touched is a big deal, and 48-year-old me knows that. I never forgot about that night and while I don't want to minimize it, it hasn't caused me any lingering damage. I don't think of that night often, but the Duggar's story has brought the memory to the surface.
And, I wonder about the girls.
At 14, I knew what was up. I knew boys liked boobs. I knew enough about the birds and the bees to know what was going on and looking back, I consider myself lucky that I made it stop with the simple gesture of moving my body away.
Younger me wouldn't have been that savvy. That nameless, faceless 5-year-old that Josh Duggar put his hands on... she's grown up with the memory of someone putting his hands on her private parts. Did someone tell her it was no big deal and to forget about it?
Did she forget?
I have better things to do than throw darts at Josh Duggar. If the media reports are true, he's healed and moved on and his past isn't a surprise to the people who really care about him.
As I said, I never was a Duggar superfan. But should TLC ever pick up their show again, I won't watch it. As a mom to sons, I can only imagine the terrible pain I would face it one of my boys told me they'd done something to hurt an innocent young girl. It would be indescribably hard to do the right thing and speak up. But as a mom to a daughter, it would be impossible not to.
I feel sorry for Michelle. As a mom, I can't imagine the pain this must cause.
But, I wonder about the girls.