The Truth About Child Abuse… It’s Not Just the Scandals

By now you have likely seen the celebrity stories. You know, the ones where a celebrity family is caught in a shocking secret. Every time the news hits, it is the exact same scenario. People from all walks of life start talking about this tragic story, some in defense of the ones in the spotlight, while others “cast stones”. However, I think people continue to miss the bigger picture. The sad reality is that this is not just the shocking one-off stories. The truth is that even though no one wants to talk about it, this happens more than we know.

I am putting myself out there by telling this story, but I think now is as good of time as any! As stories surfaced during child abuse prevention month, I kept telling myself I would tell my story. You see, I believe that my story is one that many children could tell, but don’t. I think it is a story that is sadly hidden away in our culture, with the victims as the ones left hurt and scared.

Its not just the Duggars, the truth about Child Molestation

In a recent scandle, the one in the spotlight was 14 years old when the alleged child molestation cases occurred. According to reports, he would fondle his sisters while they slept, played, and even trusted him to read stories to them. Many are saying that while this is inexcusable, they are defending the fact that he was merely a teenager and should not be judged for his actions as a teen. Where are the stories about the victims? Where are the stories about how this could have been prevented?

Everyone seems to be so shocked that such a disgusting thing could happen and that such a disgusting thing could be hidden for so long. I am not shocked. I am not surprised. Sadly, I would bet that this story is unfolding day after day in families across the world. I would also bet this story has been told throughout history. The only difference is that media, reality TV and social media did not have such a huge presence in our lives or the lives of our grandparents.

Those little girls are not alone! They have lived their whole life up until now thinking they are the reason this happened to them. They have lived their whole life maybe even thinking this is how they deserve to be treated.

How do I know? This was me. I have never told anyone (except my closest and dearest friends) about this and I am really scared to put this piece of me out there. However, my hope in doing so is that we can all take these stories more as a wake up call. A way to speak about the unspoken and a way to help the silent victims.

You see, I was molested as a child. Even as I write those words they seem unspeakable. They seem so surreal. For most of my childhood and adult life I blamed myself. I thought I was alone. I was not touched by a stranger, instead, much like what you hear in these scandals, I was hurt by someone I trusted and someone my family trusted to care for me because he was the oldest one in the family. I went years with this secret. In fact, it was not until after I was married (the first time) that I even told anyone. It wasn’t until it was destroying my marriage and my ability to be intimate with my husband that I finally spoke up.

Telling someone was a huge step and believe it or not, it got easier to do each time I told another person. Each time it was the same scenario, I would be having a heart to heart with someone I loved and trusted, I would share my dark secret, only to learn that they too had a similar secret.

I am not saying that everyone has this dark secret and the world is full of terrible things. What I am saying is that I have come to realize that this sad reality happens so much more than we ever think it could. The older I have become and the more times this scenario has played out, the more I am learning that so many children are touched inappropriately by people they trust.

I have kept quiet for so many years because it is embarrassing. It is scary to tell this story and not be judged, not seem like I am looking for attention. As hard as it is, I hope that this story encourages others to speak out.

This story hits home even more than you might realize. While I have carried this burden as an adult, I never thought I would know of a child who had the same sad untold story. No! I would be better than the adults that missed it in my life, so I thought. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. In just the last few years, children very close to my heart have been a part of this same story, and not only on one occurrence. I have seen it happen in great families, not so great families, and even families I know and love. Luckily, these children felt comfortable telling someone and the story ended there. For so many, this is not the case. For so many, they remain silent for so many years.

You might be wondering why I am even speaking out. I am speaking out for all of the untold stories. I am speaking out so that others might know they are not alone. I am speaking out for the victims, so they may know they are not to blame! I am speaking out to spread awareness so together we can ensure our children don’t have to go through the same untold story.

What if we created a place where it was okay to speak about this unspeakable act? What if we created awareness and tools to help families who are faced with the same stories as the “news reports”. What if we weren’t forced to hide it and force the victims to stay victims?

Will you join me in speaking out? If you know this untold story, whether it is you or someone you know, or someone you have crossed paths with… will you leave me a message that just says “It’s Not Just The Scandals”? On Social media you can use the hashtag #notjustthescandals. You can share your story if is something you need to be told, or you can leave it just at that.

165 thoughts on “The Truth About Child Abuse… It’s Not Just the Scandals”

  1. Crystal

    It’s not just the Duggars.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you for being so brave!

    2. Kayleigh

      It’s not just the Duggars…
      And it’s never ok!

    3. Eleanor

      In the UK #notjusttheduggars

  2. jane doe

    Its not just the duggars. I blamed myself for so long too. You are brave and its happening far too often for us not to speak up. You know who I am, my email id is the clue. Hugs. And thank you

  3. Danielle

    Its not just tje duggars.

  4. Aisha

    It’s not just the Duggars.

  5. I told my story a few years ago, it was one of the toughest moments. I had told it in a courthouse years ago but to say it on a blog that is for life was huge for me. Congrats on telling your story. It really does get easier to tell. One day I hope to be able to speak in front of kids/schools about my past and possibly be a voice for kids that are too scared to go into a courtroom. ((HUGS))

  6. KEB

    Thank you for sharing your story! I, like you, was thinking more about the victims than the Josh. I can not imagine going through it and just want to thank you for sharing.

  7. renita

    it’s not just the duggars

  8. Thank you for speaking out and being so brave in telling your story. A few close friends have confided in me of having been through this too and each time I was shocked and upset by their stories. But I seen that they have not let the experience get the best of them, instead they sought help to move past it and be strong advocates against child abuse. It has given me hope that that victims can come out the other side.

  9. Pingback: repost – It’s Not Just the Duggars | Lemon Lime Adventures | blackadoptivemom

  10. Jennifer Rote

    It’s not just the Duggars

  11. You are so brave and compassionate. Thank you for shining a light onto this dark and shameful secret. It’s not just the Duggars.

  12. Thank you for being so brave and compassionate and shining a light on this dark and shameful secret. It’s not just the Duggars.

  13. Lauree

    Not just the Duggars. Mine was a cousin who I spent several weeks with each summer.

  14. Cheryl Dwyer

    I too was molested as a child, both my step grandfather and my Dad. By the time I was 6 I knew just about everything a woman would know about sex. My Mom found out when a cousin told her about Grandpa Bills, and she told me to stay away from him…then sent me into the same room with him. I found out this pervert had molested my Mom and her sisters, and many of my cousins, both male & female. I told anbout my Dad when they divorced. They remarried a year later. So now I am a strong advocate of all children. No one should be shamed into silence, and I’m betting that’s what happened to these girls.

  15. Jamie Tobin

    I to was molested by family (older sibling) and went on throughout life

  16. Allison

    It’s not just the Duggars. Not my personal story, but someone close to me, and I feel so helpless because can’t do anything to fix it for her now that it’s done.

  17. Mandy

    It’s not just the Duggars.

    I have read different stories on this case but yours is the best so far. What he did was wrong but the focus is on him and not the girls who this story is revictimizing. They have to relive what occurred each time they hear or read of this story. I hope and pray they each were able to get the therapy I’m sure they needed. I have a parent that was molested as a child and never fully dealt with it and she has suffered over and over because of it. God help and bless the victims of child sexual abuse.

  18. Its Not Just the Duggars. Thank you for being so brave!

  19. Rachel

    I need to know, what as a parent can I do to protect my kids. I also need to know why you couldn’t tell your parents at the time, or what they could have asked to let you know that you could tell. This is so scary and I just want to protect my children!

    1. Becca

      It’s not just the Duggars. Thankfully not a victim myself but know a girl who was abused. As a parent it’s my biggest fear. I too want to know what I can do or ask. So far my intention is to teach my daughter that people’s privates are theirs alone. You don’t let other people touch yours and you don’t touch theirs no matter what. At the same time I don’t want to give her a complex. She’s only 8 months old now and the future terrifies me.

    2. utcmocgrad

      Talk to your kids all the time and be open with them. Not just about sex, but everything. And God forbid they do have to tell you something…. listen to them. Do not question them or judge them. Let them talk. Let them know you are taking them to the authorities so they can tell them. They have to know that you believe them and expect that the offended is the “bad guy/girl”. It will be the hardest thing you have to do. The police may have to speak with your child alone in order to do what is best for the case. You will not want you child alone, but what can be discovered in this sort of investigation can put an offender behind bars. I hated doing it for my child, but the investigator she spoke with was great. In fact… she later asked for him to be in court when she testified. My daughter’s offender did get sent to prison. Finally… make sure you get your child counseling. My child is doing great, but there are certainly times when emotions come rushing back. Always be there for your kids!

    3. naomi

      You need to make sure your kids are comfortable telling you anything. Make your home a safe haven. Make sure your kids know that that kind of behavior is wrong…and that if anyone ever tries it, they won’t be in trouble for telling you!
      Tell them a story about someone you know who has been through it, and let them know it is not acceptable…and you are there to keep them safe and protected. if you need a story to share, you can use mine!
      Be careful with sleepovers. Even if you trust the kids, there’s always the parents…or be sure you’re the one hosting the sleepover

    4. Marilyn

      I give you and anyone else who was a victim or witness to these awful acts who comes forward with their “secret”so much credit. You are very courageous.
      The shame and fear carried by the victims can scar for life unless they get good professional counseling. How do I know? It happened in our family.
      The assailant should have good professional counseling as well. God only knows how many times Josh’s thoughts to prey have actually been carried out and not reported to date. Josh only had a few months of manual labor. Are you serious???? Consequences for incest as well as sexual assault outside of the family needs to be clearly more appropriate for the action that was taken.
      Rachel, for your question— Ask your children questions, be vigilant. Even if your child trusts you implicitly, they might be afraid to tell you if something is wrong. You have any suspicions?? do anything in your power to prevent situations that allow your children to be with that person. If they are sitting or accompanying the sitter–spot check by coming home unexpectedly, stealthily. Going to the ends of the earth for your children?? find a good child psychologist who YOU interview first and find out what their credentials are to get to the truth.

      No, it’s not just the Duggars!

    5. Sim Pyke

      i was molested as a child and didn’t tell because I didn’t know there was something to tell until I was a teenager and learned about sex. One of the most powerful things you can do for a child is teach them about good and bad touching and emphasise that it is not ok even if it mummy or daddy. You also have to listen to your kids about everything in their lives so they can trust you. If they approach you about a minor issue and you dismiss it, they will assume you are going to dismiss bigger issues too. And finally, look out for behavioural changes in your child – a reluctance to be alone with someone, inappropriate sexual language, increased insecurity or crying etc. any or all of the above.

      1. Donne

        It’s not just the Duggars!

        For me the worst part was the requirement that I keep it a secret. I had been raised to tell my parents everything, so when he told me not to tell…that I couldn’t tell…it impacted me a lot.

        a great majority of abusers ARE family and close friends of the victims – not the “big, bad, scary strangers”.

    6. Stephanie

      I am in the same boat – tell us what to do to protect our children from being victims or instigators

    7. Jennifer

      Yes – I, too, would love an answer to this question….what can parents do to help their children? What can we do to prevent this from happening, and what can we do to encourage them to share it with us, if it is happening?

  20. Renee

    It’s no just the Duggars. But like the Duggars, my attacker was a man who was supposed to be a Christian and was looked up to by others in the community. He was a church deacon and people believed he was this wonderful person. I’m in my 40’s and still refuse to talk about it. I was a little girl and I still fear that people like my own grandmother would think I was to blame or lying.

    1. Marilyn

      My ex-husband is a devout Catholic and preyed on my daughter. My daughters are grown with families of their own. They grew up with a stark knowledge of what the real world can hold. Both are loving good mothers to their children. Both had counseling and that is the key to let them let go of the past and move forward to live a normal life
      They were educated by fire but I know they are strong and healthy emotionally

  21. Big hugs. It takes a lot to tell your story, and I know it will bring peace and strength to many others who are struggling with the same thing. I was never abused in any way but as a mom I do worry for my kids. I do my best to keep them out of harm’s way, but I hope to have the kind of relationship with them that they would be able to tell me if something did happen. Every story I hear breaks my heart a little more.

  22. Tammy

    It’s not just the Duggars….

  23. Vidra

    It’s not just the Duggar. I knew many young girl and boys growing up who were molested by those closest to them. I have several friends my father helped get to a safe place by calling the authorities and raising hell when no one else would. Thank You for sharing your story.

  24. Jaqueline

    It’s not just the Duggars. It took me 37 years to get up the nerve to talk about it. Then my worst fears were realized and I,basically have no family in my life. It’s only my husband, child and I now. It hurts very much to be turned on by family especially a second time. And now no family to enjoy my child with. The truth is too tough for some to handle. 🙁

    1. Cindy

      Sending you a hug- I agree. It is horrible to tell and then lose it all. I’ve lost my “family” if you want to call them that also. Finally got enough courage to tell my mother when I was 50 yrs old that my stepfather abused me. Mother blamed me and brother and sister followed along. No contact for 10 yrs.

      1. Sherry Martindale

        I am so sorry that happened to you. It boggles the mind how people would rather live in denial and sacrifice a relationship with their child, than face the truth. I am so sorry, and I hope that you know it is NOT your fault. Sending prayers of comfort and peace to you, sweetheart, you are not alone <3

    2. Marilyn

      You did the right thing for your family and you are doing what is best for your child. My children’s grandparents disowned them. My Girls were hurt but luckily they had my side of the family to envelop them with love and a deep respect for their courage. Your courage to speak out is a blessing and although your family turned away from you be sure that at least one has your seed planted in their mind and will open their eyes towards this person. They will be checking and testing. Blessings to you.

  25. Denny

    It’s Not Just the Duggars. It’s not just huge families or homeschooled children. It’s you. It’s me. It’s many other children that we don’t know. I’m glad that this has come out. I’m glad that people will be talking. In my family, it was more about lack of education and lack of supervision. We weren’t allowed to yell, we weren’t allowed to play rough, we didn’t talk about that sinful “S” word. My brother was 4 years older than me. It started when I was about 8 and he was 12. Josh was 14/15, his sisters at that time were 9, 11, 12 & 13 (I believe). Although I never viewed what happened to me as Pedophilia and my initial response what that neither was this case, I often worried that my brother was abusing his daughter. I didn’t have the courage to speak up. I was always careful not to leave my children in his care until one visit when my sister in law was responsible for my daughter and my brother came and took over without my knowledge. I took her to the doctor when she, at 3 yrs, was spreading her vagina and telling me she was looking for the “little tiny balls”. Her pediatrician should have reported it and didn’t. He told me that there simply wan’t evidence that anything had truly happened and felt that it was more likely that she had “seen” something since there was no signs of trauma. It was then that I reminded my mother of the abuse and my fear of what may have happened to my daughter. She acted like she didn’t know. She CAUGHT us! It still went on for several years (though with a bit of a break). She had been abused by her father. She knew what it felt like and what it looked like yet she chose to do nothing. It’s not just the Duggars. It’s not just someone from a low income neighborhood. It’s not just the unHoly. It’s not just someone you don’t know. It’s you. It’s me.

  26. It’s not just Duggars….it happened to my mom when she was a child , she was molested by her uncle. It also happened to me by a sibling but i never told…was scared to break up the family and have my parents be upset.

  27. Chandra

    ‪#‎itsnotjusttheduggars‬ ‪#‎takebackyourvoice‬ ‪#‎itsnotyourfault‬ ‪#‎youarenotalone‬ ‪#‎speakupforthosewhocantspeakforthemselves‬

    It’s not your fault, you’re not to blame, you took back your voice by writing this and you spoke up for those who can’t (yet) speak for themselves.
    Thank you!!!!

  28. Nikkol Gomez

    Unfortunately it’s not just the Duggars! It is a sad thing because of it I do not trust anyone. Very diligent about who my kids are with. I talk about it with them on a regular basis. It wrecked every part of me. Up until last year at 38 did I realize that it wasn’t my fault and that I have to forgive that person to move on. Now I am free of that burden. The lesson I have learned from it made me more aware in keeping my children safe. I always say if I can get my kids through to adulthood without being abused, I have succeeded!

  29. Cindy

    It’s not just the Duggars.

  30. Genie

    It’s not just the Duggers!

  31. Debbie

    It’s not just the Duggars.

  32. Debbie

    Its hard to tell because its something that hurts and people can use against you.You really dont want those people in your life anyway but they are there.Also some people i think it scares them so they back away. Most i dont think even know how to respond me included.

  33. Michelle

    It did get easier every time you tell, but it never really goes away and I feel so bad for these duggar girls who have had to keep quiet for so long. I too was molested, by my stepfather, he threatened my life and stole trust and innocence from me. When I finally did find the courage to bring it to light I was basically called a liar and sent to live with my dad. It had literally effected every single part of my life in some way. So I speak my truth every chance I get because one day it will matter and one day it will make a difference.

  34. Ruth

    FYI: If you read the information, the Duggar victims were provided counseling. Their secret was known by many and not kept repressed, but worked through.

  35. anon

    It’s not just the Duggars. My stepdad was caught with indecent images and my mam divorced him thankfully as a couple of years had gone by where he was abusing me and telling me things like you cant tell your mother as she wont believe you and telling me awful things and scared me into saying anything, to this day I haven’t told my story and do not intend to properly as he has now died and as a Christian I have forgiven and moved on. It is scary to think how easily it can happen to anyone and I hope I have and always will protect my children enough. It’s not just the Duggars!

  36. Kristen

    It is not just the Dugger’s! I was in my 40’s before I told my story to anyone! I have to say this! We need to make people aware of how serious and common this is. Especially among family members! My life was forever changed!

  37. Melissa

    Thank you for putting your story out there and letting others know it is ok to speak up. #itsnotjust the duggars

  38. Lindsey

    It’s not just the Duggers.

  39. Kaitlyn

    This happened to someone very close to me and that person carried that with them for the entire life. It’s not just the Duggars and you’re right- there needs to be more discussion about this. Thank you for sharing your story.

  40. Elizabeth

    It’s not just the Duggars.

  41. Jennie Eaglespeaker

    It’s not just the Duggars

  42. Kris

    Thank you for your story!!! Would love to start up something in my area for kids and even adults. It’s not our fault what has happened to us as kids. After 30+ years, it still effects me. It’s just not the Duggars.

  43. Nope, not just the Duggers. Thanks for your bravery

  44. Jessica

    It’s not just the Duggars!

    It makes me so sad tp find this out, I hope no one has to go through what we went through and can openly speak about their experiences without the fear it brings.

  45. It’s not just the duggars. I was abused as a child, can’t remember anything, really. I only see a person standing in the doorframe. My older sister asked me when I was 16 if my dad does the same to me. I was shocked because I thought it was only me. All 4 kids got abused my oldest brother too. He did tray to rape me when I was just 5, he then 13. When I was a teenager he exposude his penis and when I was already a mum myself he suggestet to live together so he can slip in my bed now and then.
    I never touched my older son or my now 5 year old son. I told the whole story to my ex-husband and now he uses this over a family court battle. I never would put my own kids through this. I feel like a emty bottle, its like I am not in my body. Therapy doesn’t help because no one really understands me how I feel.

  46. Jen D

    It’s not just the Duggars! I am in my 40’s and I have meet many women who were molested as children. More awareness has got to be taught to our children. Thank you for sharing your story!

  47. Katie lewis

    It’s not just the Duggars!

  48. I recently learned of Lauren’s Kids, which provides amazing (free) resources for prevention, awareness, and teaching our kids that it’s okay to tell. You may want to check it out and share it with your readers. I think so many of us avoid the topic with our kids because it’s scary and embarrassing and we don’t want to tell them more than they need to know. Lauren’s advice is fantastic and doable. #notjusttheduggars

  49. Jodi

    its not just the Duggars and my Mama doesn’t believe me. I am filled with confusion.

  50. Sigi

    #notjusttheduggars I am not a victim, I am a survivor, an overcomer. My purpose is to tell victims that this doesn’t have to define our lives, that there is healing and hope. Forgiving is a powerful step: it doesn’t set you abuser free, it sets you free. Refusing to live in bitterness and brokenness doesn’t minimize the damage done in the past, it maximizes the worth of your life now and in the future. I only know healing because of my relationship with God and He used a great book called The Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan Allander to get me free of so much of what held me back until my late 20s. I highly recommend it to those who want to be overcomers.

  51. Anonymous

    It’s not just the Duggars.

  52. debbie

    It’s not just the Duggars!

  53. Sherri C.

    I can relate I was raped/molested repeatedly when I was a child, when I told my parents they talked to his parents and he was ‘punished’ and that was it. No charges not police nothing. The only ones I have told about this have been my first and second husband because it also affected me when it came to intimacy, it still does today.

  54. Erica

    It’s not just the Duggars. The first time I was 8 till the age of 13. Someone would think by 13 I should know better but not if not ever tasks to you about what is right and what is wrong. The sad thing, by my two older brothers. My oldest was eventually arrested for lewd and lascivious acts. Recently my Mom tried to talk me into writing a letter to the governor to have him taken off that list and the record expunged. Yeah, not happening.
    The other brother was just given a death sentence at a young age. He was told he has less than five years left to live.
    I don’t think I could ever tell my parents what had happened. I think it would literally kill them.

  55. Stephanie

    This is awful – I have four children – two boys and two girls in that order. This has happened to a friend of mine. Here’s the question: how do I talk to all of my children about this? About how it’s not ok for ANYONE to touch them, including their siblings? Any insight will help all of us. Thank you for sharing your story. Brave girl.

  56. Pingback: Turning a Bad News Story into Good - Kirsten Oliphant

  57. Jayne dough

    It’s not just the Duggars. After many many years I started seeing a therapist bc the self blame was so overwhelming. I am making great strides daily. Thank you for your post.

  58. Three Minions

    Not everyone tells b/c not everyone believes or does something about it.
    I told one parent about what had happened to me, and they basically did nothing.
    Saying, “We don’t want to call the police b/c it could ruin his family and career.”
    When I told them I thought I needed counseling, their response was, “Well, honey,
    what will people think if they find out that you’re seeing a counselor? We can’t tell them. It’s better if we just don’t go.” I told another parent years later and their response was, “Well, sometimes that sort of
    thing just happens in life.” And, then people wonder why victims don’t come forward!! THAT’S why!

  59. Pingback: A Voice For The Victims | Why Not Train A Child?

  60. Robin Kautz

    Not just the Duggars. My daughter was abused from ages 1-12 by my husband, her father. After she disclosed, he was arrested and we divorced. My daughter is now 28, and she struggles every day. Her relationships with men are short-lived and filled with anxiety. I was a wreck for several years. There are so many survivors out there. Thank you for speaking up.

  61. Kassie

    You’re brave for sharing your story. First of all, I am so sorry this happened to you! I don’t want to think that this happens, but I know it does and I know it needs to be spoken about. I think we need to talk about it, maybe not with the duggars name attached, but this horrible thing in general. You know? I understand your words… You saying that it caused a lot of harm in your first marriage because you couldn’t be intimate. I struggle in this area a lot. Sometimes I am able, but a lot of the time I simply don’t want to and feel dirty/used because of it. You see, when I was 15 I met an older boy on the Internet (he was 18) and he took advantage of me. Did things I never consented to… Really didn’t say anything to because I didn’t know how. Now, I know it’s different… I know it’s not the same, but things that happened then, I believe affect me still now. In sharing all that I just know that in someway the girls are affected. Thanks for sharing your story.

  62. Rebecca

    It’s not just the Duggars. Thank you so much for sharing.

  63. so many years ago..

    It’s not just the Diggers. Far from it.

  64. Tennille

    its not just the Duggars.

  65. Marsha

    Its not just the Duggars.
    I too was molested as a child by the oldest cousin in my family. When my therapist encouraged me to open up to my dad I was told it was my fault. As a 10yr old that is not something you want to hear. I have since had problems with my relationships & being intimate. 20+ years later it still affects me. As a mother of 3 daughters & 2 boys my biggest fear is that this will happen to them & I won’t have a clue.

  66. Jennifer

    It’s not just the duggars.

  67. Judy

    It’s not just the Duggers. It took me until I was in 50 ‘s to tell my own husband of 30 plus years. I was a victim not my fault.

  68. LaTanya

    It’s Not Just The Duggars

  69. Mere

    It’s not just the Duggers. Not me, but wishing it were not in my family.

  70. Donna

    I’m happy that you found the freedom and safety to tell your story in your own way and your own time. Too bad the Dugger girls were not given this opportunity. Their story is being spread far and wide on social media and in stories such as this one. It’s unfair and its opportunistic. If anyone who was hurt wants to come forward God bless them and God bless you for giving them a forum but leave this family out of it otherwise you are victimizing these girls all over again. And there is no more justification for the social molestation the media is promoting that there is justification in what Josh has done.

  71. Starr

    It’s NOT just the Duggars. Thank you for speaking up, for being so brave!

  72. Ashley

    It’s not just the Duggars.

  73. Not just the Duggars
    My grandpa who I love(d) dearly “quietly” abused me over a few years as a very young child 6-8. Obviously him being a trusted loved one was most scarring. But when I realized what he had been doing was wrong I protected myself from him by ensuring that I was never left alone with him from age 8 and up. I personally forgave him and played ignorant once as a young adult when he tried to mention it to apologize but I had already forgiven in my heart and played dumb (I still regret not telling him that I forgave him).
    I think a huge issue with why I never told anyone what had happened was because my mom talked frequently about how bad it was to be touched wrongly (shame) and how she would be put into prison for what she would do to anyone who hurt me (fear). I loved him and everyone in my family loved him. I did not want to be the reason for his imprisonment or the reason for my mom to attack someone who We all loved (guilt). It’s equally as important to understand that even the “victims” don’t have to have hatred or bitterness or JUSTICE. Believe me if it would have gotten out of control or forceful I would have spoken up. But it was silent and I didn’t really realize what was happening until I was a bit older and as soon as I understood it- it was not happening again.
    With “Justice served” It would have killed me to see my grandpa in jail or see my grandma alone and angry for all those years and everyone missing him because of me.
    I know I wasn’t the problem but I didn’t want to be the one to put the problem out there either. Even if it would have been “supportive” help that I received it would have tortured me more with having the attention of why he is being punished and talking to police, courts, and counsellors about where he touched me and how often and how I feel about it. Silence for me was MUCH more golden.
    Even now, 25 years later and with him passed away, I am happy knowing that my grandma is a happily widowed woman and not just the “wife of a child molester”.

    I imagine these girls are being hurt more now, re-living the situation as the world is focusing on them. I guarantee they had forgiven and moved forward – not focusing on their “victim” status – and wanted to keep this matter silent and not have attention on them about the matter just as much as the parents and josh did.
    Now the guilt and shame plus theirs and their families livelihood rest on their shoulders once again while they try to move forward for something they had long forgotten.
    Under the rug in a far away storage room is exactly where that info needed to be, as it was already handled.

    ****And parents. Please don’t tell your children that you’ll kill (or hurt) whoever touches them. If they are a loved relative they may not want that person to be hurt and for you to go to jail for hurting them. I heard those words all too many times and it was a major reason I chose to never tell my story. ****

  74. Thank you! It’s not just the Duggars.

  75. Judy

    You are not alone, I’m there with you!

  76. Heather Sujdak

    Please go to my daughter’s FB page, “Ordinary is Extraordinary”. She is making a safe place for other survivors to get support and share their story. 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will be sexually abused before age 18. It’s certainly NOT just the Duggars.

  77. Sherry Martindale


    First of all, you are so brave to share your story in a public forum where it can help so many people. There are countless children being molested by family members because these are the people that are the most trusted by the parent. I say parent because, although it is less often, some children are molested by their own biological parent. Who do they tell? Especially if it’s a situation like Duggar where he snuck into their bed while they slept. Do you think those little girls slept through that or do you think they froze in fear and pretended to be asleep hoping, praying it would stop. I’m sorry, but when he decided to tell what he had been doing (probably because he finally picked a girl who made him nervous she was going to tell) the for us should have immediately gone to his victims and their well-being. They should have seen him pay consequences such as time in a detention center – NOT- attend counseling like they did. That sent them the message that it was partly their fault or they all needed counseling for it happening to them. Nothing happened to Duggar…he was the predator not the victim. He knew what he was doing was wrong. Those girls didn’t get to choose. JMO

  78. Jen W

    It’s not just the Duggars.

  79. Jane Doe

    Not Just the Duggars. Happens all to much.

  80. Melissa

    It’s not just the Duggars! And sometimes the perpetrator was also once a victim. That understanding helped me in my road to forgiveness of my abuser. Which has helped me heal.
    Speak out! Speak up! Love and understanding, not hate and blame.

  81. Anonymous

    How brave of you to share your story! I am someone you know in the bloggy world, but I can’t reveal that here. I am protecting a child from her father/sexual abuser. The law doesn’t care. The courts don’t care. CPS didn’t care. They hid medical and legal evidence in order to “help the father regain his visitation rights.” Yes. It said that in the cop’s very own notes. No one cares.

  82. Amy

    It’s not just the Duggars! 🙁

  83. Lorna Suzarte

    Unfortunately it’s not just the duggars.

  84. Janie

    It’s not just the Duggars. I’m also a victim of molestation. It changes who you are. I survived tho…and continue to heal everyday.

  85. jane

    you are not alone thank you for breaking the silence

  86. Nina

    It’s not just the Duggars. I wish it wasn’t any of us. I hope beyond hope that it is never my children, that I can keep them safe somehow.

  87. Jane

    It’s Not Just the Duggars!
    My story is so similar to the Duggar girls. Christian school, big family one big difference though. They had parents that they felt comfortable enough with to tell. My older brother would molest me in my sleep of course I acted like I was still sleeping because I thought he would hurt me more or threaten me if he knew I knew. Silly I know but I was a young girl. He would also scream and hit me and throw me across the room during the day. He did this to most of us younger siblings but I was angry with him for what he was doing to me do I was defiant and would tell him NO!. So I got the crap beat out of me more than my siblings did. Not every day, maybe not that often but I think I blocked out so much I can’t remember everything. I only remember 5 specific times but it seems like it went on for a long time. My Dad was so violent I was sure he would kill my brother if I told and my Mom was depressed, stressed and emotionally abused by my Dad and for some reason I didn’t feel she could help. I am married have children and am very happy. I told my Mom a yr ago and she was devastated. I have never talked to my brother about it. One thing is for sure he is not the boy that he was as a teenager. He is a good christian man and father. He got counseling as an adult. I know he regrets it and is sorry. I forgive him. If he wasnt a completely different person I probably wouldn’t forgive him. After he got out from under my Dad’s control and got counseling he was not a violent person anymore. Talking to him about it now seems pointless and not needed. I think he knows I forgive him and I know he regrets it. Maybe someday I will tell him I forgive him and ask him why he did it. I only still have hurtful feelings towards my father. If we would have not lived in such a violent home my brother would have probably never felt the need to control me like that. If I would have felt safe in my environment I would have told. Not every story is the same. But I am confident enough to say that the Duggar girls have forgiven their brother and moved on. The ones that are hurting them now is the media!!!

  88. Amber Grant

    It’s not just the duggars!

  89. Lynette

    It is not just the Duggar, my youngest daughter told me that her brother 16 year old was doing things to her. Instead of hiding it and sweeping it under the rug. Against my family wishes we reported it. I know I felt alone in this matter. Because there was my son and here is my daughter. But I knew how it felt when my sister confuse to my mom about our dad and nothing was done. I remember how she had to live with it and felt ashamed. I didn’t want my little girl to feel ashamed at all. It wasn’t her fault. He was arrested and long story short is on the sex offender list and live in another town and go to support groups and therapy. Many ask me how could you turn your son in, why didn’t you give him help. Because I had to stand up for my daughter. She is doing great and also goes to therapy. We are healing as a family. He was 17 and now he is 21 years old. I was very guilty of my actions until he told me a week ago, I save him as well.

  90. Haley

    It’s not just the Duggars. I blamed myself for so long and on those hard nights I still do.

  91. ProtectiveMamaBear

    It’s not just the Duggar’s! And the system needs to protect and help stop the cycle! But…. 🙁 even ADMITTED abusers get unsupervised visitation of toddler girls! Living with the fear daily….

  92. Stephanie

    It’s not just the Duggars.

  93. Shary Hauber

    Thank you for sharing you story, The more of us who tell ours the better chance the person who thinks they are alone will realize they are not alone. No one is alone in this journey. My story though we were shamed into silence as children we speak now. Children of missionaries who went to boarding schools like ours Mamou Guinea West Africa suffered abuse of all kinds from house parents and staff. Twenty years ago six of these MKs stood in front of a large denomination national convention and passed out a plea on flyers. Our story can be seen in the film All God’s Children which can be viewed on .

    MK Safety Net is a not for profit organization that comes along side missionary kids now adults to help them in their journey. We have a FB site MKSafetyNet that you can check out and contact us if you are an MK who has suffered trauma. Who every you are you are not alone.

  94. Rena

    Thank you for sharing this and asking everyone to anonymously share. It’s not just the Duggars. I think it is horrible how much abuse is hidden to save embarrassment of family members. It just perpetuates the problem. If no one is reported the abuser will most likely continue abuse and try to abuse others as well. I have not spoken to my dad the past two years because of abuse. He was an exhibitionist and molester. The list of people he offended keeps growing as more people are brave enough to share what happened, including myself and my sister, cousins, friends and adult women neighbors. I told my dad he is not welcome to visit our home. We would meet him out to eat or at family reunions but it is on my terms/boundaries. He said I should forgive and forget. I won’t do that with a sex offender with repeat offenses. My anxiety is too high to protect my own children when he is around. He wasn’t willing to accept my boundaries so I refuse to talk to him for now. It is really sad. I feel like I went through a mourning period the first year+ . Losing a father because of his behavior and refusing to admit or understand what his did was wrong. I know he has mental problems (as most offenders do) and I hope he receives counseling or medication to help him someday so I may be able to build some type of trust again. I have finally forgiven him (took years) but I do not trust him and I wish more people would realize there is a difference between forgiveness and trust. Don’t let abusers keep offending just because they said they are sorry. I hope someday there is a better way to prevent and work through abuse within families and close friends. I think the first step is for more of us to speak out and report so the abuser doesn’t continue abusing or hurt others. I have had to warn my cousins because they have taken their children to stay at his house on vacation. They had no idea abuse had happened and were thankful for the warning. We also need to teach our children from young ages about appropriate touch (which I speak to my children often). I pray for healing for the abused and abusers.

  95. Jackie

    “It’s not just the duggars”

  96. Jule

    Its not just the Duggers! I was Molested by my older brother I was 10 he was 14! I kept it to my self until I was 32 years old. I told becasue he would just not keep his hands off my 3 year old daughter he like to “play” with her way to much! But Unlike most families I was blamed I asked for it It was me who wanted it!! This coming from my parents!! They really were not in the least nice about it!! My other brothers and there wives all agreed that I was just saying for what ever reason! They felt that if it really did happen I would have told back than!! I was ten he was going to rip the head off my dolls I kept quite!!….. Than as an adult when I did tell I was told it was all in my head I was suffering from depression ( I WAS NOT) SO long story short they would not believe that he did that and I was wrong!! Thats ok I have moved on !! and have not spoken to any of them in 14 years there loss they do not know my 4 children and they never will!! and I have great kids!! MY husband is a rock and My biggest cheerleader!! I tell my storey all the time!! If I am brave enought to tell maybe someone will be saved!! SO in the end the man that cheated on his wife 8 times at that point and would not stay off the porn sites in the internet had no problem it was all me!! lol Keep telling your story the world needs to hear it!!

  97. Krystal

    It’s not just the Duggar

  98. Lisa

    I join the ranks with those who were molested as a child. Around 20 years later I have forgiven my father and we are building a relationship again!

  99. jan

    It’s not just the Duggars. (Not helped when a psychologist said it didn’t count because there wasn’t full on penetration).

  100. Lisa

    Such brave beautiful women you all are! Thank you for sharing your stories.
    It is NOT just the Duggars! It happened to me by 4 different extended family members (all males).
    One was repeatedly the others a one time incident but all have shaped and affected me in ways too numerous to mention. God help all of us. You are all in my prayers.

  101. Amazing. I was simultaneously sad reading your post, and so happy that you came out with it all in such a public way, and then all the comments here have absolutely given me goosebumps. Kudos to you for being so brave and allowing others a place to speak up, if only in a comment.

  102. Veronica

    It’s not JUST the Duggars. Very brave of you to share your story and thoughts. Our society is in an upheaval of values. While it was most surely wrong for Josh to act out sexually against his sisters, we need to remember a few facts. Teenage boys are going through an enormous physical change with the onset of puberty and the influence of testosterone. In some ways, they are victims too. Parents HAVE to talk with their SONS about these changes and how to act accordingly. Parents also need to teach girls from a very young age about appropriate vs inappropriate behavior (just as with teaching boys). Let’s face it….with all that is available on TV and the internet, loads of adolescents and children are exposed to enough sexual material to create curiosity. And yet, we live in a society that says “anything goes”….
    however you are, it is OK. Funny thing how we Americans view our ‘rights’…..but we can never forget that our ‘rights’ end where another’s begin. This is what we need to be teaching the children in America.

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  104. allfor3kids

    It’s not just the Duggars – as I found out just yesterday!

  105. Jessica

    It’s not Just the Dugggars…

    First, Thank you for sharing…all of you. To the people who can’t or won’t talk about it yet, it is scary and terrifying but someday you will find your voice and it’ll get easier. Write it anonymously and leave it were others can see it if you can’t do anything else. It gets easier…

    Many people I know have been victimized by sexual predation as children. I hate calling people victims, because we aren’t. Survivors, but not victims unless we’re still being hurt. My story started when I was around 3 lasting till age 10-11, it was a male friend of my mother’s. The twist is my mother not only knew but participated in my abuse indirectly. So I felt I had no one I could rely on besides myself, I’ve worked through it enough in the 23 years since to forgive them. I don’t trust men and I can’t trust women but I’m still working through all that.

    And now I’m terrified and thrilled to hit the “post” button… Thank you everyone else for sharing!

    I have lived it, with a brother, whom I later realized was trying to learn through us, what girls were like, as he reached 14, and then less than a year later, my father raped my younger sister, at 11, and would have raped me and my twin, at age 13, if we hadn’t threatened to call the police. He still molested us almost daily, whenever he had a chance, he touched and told dirty jokes. All this we three girls hid from our mother, thinking we were protecting her. As it turned out, when she did find out, when we were, 14 and 16, she stayed with him because he apologized…and made us promise to never tell our brother, who was away at college. If my mother had attempted to seek psychiatric help for the three of us, ( which would have been free, because my dad was in the military) the military police would have arrested him and thrown him into not just a civilian prison, but, much worse, Ft Levenworth. When I was in my thirties, and married to a military man, a Capt. My husband worked with molested/raped his own 6 year old daughter, and within 6 days, he was tried and shipped off to Ft. Leavenworth, with a sentence of 36 years. Since my father’s first offences were while we lived on a military base, my father would have experienced the exact speedy trial and for multiple of fences to three daughters, he would have been in Levenworth for the rest of his life, which would have been fine with me. However, my mother was afraid they would not leave her with a pension or half his pay or whatever, and she had no trade, no skill except for waitressing. She also did not want us kids being shunned because our father was in jail, so she swore us to silence, and also, as I said earlier, made us swear not to tell our brother. Many reasons for psychiatric problems here, but to me, the worst thing was knowing that my own mother wrote off us three girls, never caring about our mental condition, in order to save my brother from knowing that his father was a rapist and molester of his own three daughters.

    My adult life could have gone badly, except that I was blessed when I married the most wonderful man God ever put on this earth. I told him everything prior to the wedding, because I did not know how I would deal with or react to sex. He said we would take it day by day, and if I had any problems with the sexual side of marriage, we would both go to the mental health clinic together. When I married this wonderful man, i. Uriel my past and told myself my parents ruined my childhood, but they were not going to mar my adulthood. I shelved it and never looked back. Unfortunately, my twin has suffered her entire life. She sought psychiatric help through the years, but she has never really recovered from our hellacious childhood. We are 69 years old now. That’s a long time to hurt, and to feel that “he got away with it”. My thinking is, he is now in hell, right where he belongs.
    I have never written this down, or seen a therapist. My salvation was a 6ft 3in. handsome, kind, intelligent man, who has loved me for 49 wonderful years.
    I guess this a bit l late, going by the date of your earlier post, but I felt like I needed to tell my story.

  107. Rachelle


    My SO has gone through this. I really ant to help him feel whole feel happy feel positive. I’d love to har what helped you deal with it. I want to lane about God with him. Neither of us know much about religion. I feel it would help

  108. Marlene

    It’s not just the Duggars. I had repressed the memories for the most part. Still there are smells I cannot tolerate. I have had therapy for many years. I’m 66. I still struggle with depression. Severe depression. My grandchildren and loving husband are bright spots in my life. But I struggle. Forever I guess. Until it is finally over. This is the first time I was reading about Reggio … And I saw this post. It is incredibly sad for everyone involved.

  109. #ItsNotJustTheDuggars
    I told my mother what my older brother was doing to me and asked for help. Mom blamed me saying it must have been my T-shirt or shorts – but it happened all the time. During a snow storm one year, mom and dad went to a Christmas party and were gone so long. We all wore shorts indoors but when he made a grab for me I ran out the door barefooted wearing my shorts and long football Jersey. I hid my tracks by running where there were footprints and climbed up in the back of my father’s fishing boat that was covered with a tarp for the winter. He searched for me but I stayed quiet. It was cold but the snow covered tarp acted as an insulator and I was warm enough that I was okay. When my parents came home I sneaked indoors.

    This happened all the time. And it wasn’t just my older brother. My father’s drinking friends were even worse. One fathered my first child. It was a never ending battle. The last one to rape me will die this year as he is battling lung cancer. Another died last year. I tried to forgive and have never been able to. I have never been able to forgive my mother either.

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  111. Diane

    Molested as a child by my adoptive father. Finding healing many years later through Life’s Healing Choices and a supportive small group. This is the first time I have said this, even anonymously it gives me courage. Thank you.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you for sharing your story!

  112. Suzanne

    I found out three years ago that we have a dark secret in our family too. That it went on for years and exposing it broke our family apart. I’m left confused, the only one who didn’t know what was going on. My sister cut us off, my parents don’t talk about it unless it’s going to be “constructive”, I’m not sure what to do about my brother and I’m worried it will happen to my kids too. Could my parents really have been so oblivious?

    Thank you for speaking up.

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