Friday, May 22, 2015

It Wasn't A "Mistake" / Advanced Training Institute Is NOT A Good Organization

NOTE: This post has been edited since their FOX interview.
The full police report, (which, despite what the Duggars might say, was not released illegally) with names redactedcan be found: here.
Josh Duggar committed a crime. He hurt 5 little girls, that at least some of which were his sisters, about 12 or so years ago, and in my honest opinion, the things that he did were not met with the correct punishment and were not handled properly. They're even talking about it like it's nothing super serious, calling it a 'mistake' instead of a crime. Talking about what he did like it's nothing, like all he did was touch them on the shoulder.
Some people would even say that he was a kid, like it's an excuse. Except he wasn't a kid, he was 14 or 15 years old. That's pretty young, but it's still an age where you can be held accountable for your actions and should know right from wrong. He was old enough that his age was not an excuse for his actions and he should have received proper punishment. It's not like when a little kid does something out of curiosity and doesn't know what he's doing is wrong (Even if it is a little kid or even if that was the case for Josh, they should be taught from the moment they're found out that this kind of thing is wrong, but I can assure you it wasn't just an accident, because if he truly didn't know it was wrong, which he did, he would not have felt the need to wait til the girls were asleep in order to do it. He simply would not have felt like he had to sneak around in order to do what he did). He molested someone. He molested 5 people. His hand didn't accidentally slip into his sister's rooms while they were sleeping. It wasn't an accident. It wasn't a "mistake". It was a crime.***

He was old enough to be entirely aware of what he was doing (and according to Michelle "He knew that it was wrong. But they (the girls) weren’t even aware. To them they probably didn’t even understand that it was an improper touch." and that's just despicable. That's actually something a lot of predators count on when targeting children, that they don't know it's inappropriate, or they don't understand what's going on and in families that are apart of ATI, that is something that older men, (be it fathers, brothers, or even older men from church) take advantage of. Predators who go after children in general take advantage of that, whether they're a part of an organized group like ATI or not). Even if it's not juvy that your kid ends up in, it should be probation or serious counseling (which if they had actually done, I feel like the psychiatrist or therapist or whatever, since they're supposed to, would have reported it and the authorities would have been contacted a lot sooner than they were. Instead they most likely had counseling like this)
They tried, according to them "everything" they could to keep this stuff from happening after they first found out, only for it to happen again, which is then when they decided to seek help from people outside the home. Honestly, I'm sure they wanted to be able to handle it perfectly on their own without ever having to have anybody else get involved, but they should have just sought help from people outside their home from the very start. I get that they did what they thought was best and they tried their hardest to help everyone involved and they wanted to try hard to keep it in the home because, honestly, who would want that kind of thing out there all over the news? but I really feel like it would have been best if they had sought the proper help and authorities right away.

'Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses — including forcible fondling — against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were interview by the Springdale Police department on Dec. 12, 2006. The report says that James told police he was alerted in March, 2002 by a female minor that Josh — who turned 14-years-old that month — had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept. This allegedly happened on multiple occasions. In 2006, Jim Bob told police that in July, 2002 Josh admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept. “James said that they disciplined (redacted, Josh) after this incident.” The family did not alert authorities.
Jim Bob told police that about nine months later in March, 2003 “there was another incident.” Josh was again accused by a female minor of touching her breasts and genitals. Josh was accused by several minors of touching their genitals, often when they slept, but at times when they were awake.'
Four of the Duggar daughters wrote a book titled Growing Up Dugger and in it, they mention some things that hint at what happened to them and one thing the girls write about is a "chain of command" in the family that follows birth order (with Josh being the eldest):
"The system is for when an older child encourages a younger child to do what is right or not do what is wrong, and the younger child is expected to listen … their older siblings are their elders and they should treat them as such … Josiah can ask James to stop whistling in the car, and he needs to stop." 
That's something that can be abused and should be watched.
It amazes me that in all of this, not once have Michelle and Jim Bob or Josh commented on how awful this was for the victims, most of which, if not all of which, were his little sisters. They've apologized for his actions and went on about how tragic what they all went through was, but what about what the girls went through? (and are going through, seeing as this news is plastered everywhere for them to see and relive, especially because when they shared what happened to them, "pouring their hearts out", to the authorities when their parents took them to the 'Children's Safety Center', they thought what they went through would be and remain confidential only for it to now be everywhere)**

I get that with such a large family, it can be hard to keep track of everything all of your kids are doing, but that's something you need to stay on top of, and I really hope that when they said they tried really hard to stay on top of everything their kids were doing, they were being honest. I really feel like if Josh had had proper sex education and had been taught "oh, such and such is wrong, this hurts people, it can ruin people's lives", he might not have done the things that he did.
Instead the thing(s) they're saying "oh, such and such is wrong, this hurts people, it can ruin people's lives" about is homosexuals and trans people and people who have abortions. They teach and preach ignorance to strangers and their kids, instead of teaching them things like proper sex education, or what's inappropriate to do to other people (Those things are important to teach your kids and Josh was old enough to have started learning about it as he was going through puberty when all of this happened and he was getting curious about things, which is part of what lead him to act as he did). I mean, who the hell are these people to say that someone who is trans or a homosexual is someone who molests children despite knowing that their son is someone who molested children? That's called being a hypocrite and it gives them no right to say anything like that about anybody.
If you're going to home-school your kids, then them getting the proper knowledge to be good citizens is on your shoulders.

Advanced Training Institute (ATI):
Forgiveness is a warped topic in fundamentalist Christian circles where abuse is concerned. Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh are using that language purposefully. They are tapping into the belief that no sin is too terrible for God to forgive and the mandate that we must forgive our trespassers as God has forgiven us. Together, these beliefs force victims in this subculture to shut up, sit down, and “make peace” with the people who have wronged them.
This results in victims having to act as if nothing ever happened. They still have to live with the perpetrator. They still have to speak to the perpetrator and show affection to them. They have to smile and pretend for years and years. No one gets real counseling. And the perpetrator is never punished.

Anna Duggar and the Silencing Power of Forgiveness (While, according to Jill and Jessa, the girls were not forced to forgive and decided to forgive on their own, the 'forcing your child to forgive their abuser' might not be so uncommon in other families in fundamentalist Christian circles)
The Duggars are affiliated with Advanced Training Institute, a fundamental Christian Organization (As Brooke states, "ATI is a Christian homeschool organization that hosts seminars worldwide, provides homeschooling curriculum, and even runs its own paramilitary training center. At one point, it was strongly affiliated with a Christian correspondence course law school. Its members are not concentrated in one area, and yet they maintain insular groups and often form churches in which all members are affiliated with ATI and/or follow its basic principles. Referred to as “Gothardism” within fundamentalist Christian circles, the teachings of ATI form an ideological system of practices based on the extremely strict, fundamentalist, and idiosyncratic Biblical interpretations of the organization’s founder, Bill Gothard – a man who, in 2014, stepped down as head of ATI following allegations of sexual misconduct with young girls.

The allegations against “Mr. Gothard” (as he is respectfully and worshipfully referred to by his acolytes) were an open secret among group members for many years. As a friend who worked at ATI headquarters once said to me with a wink: “The prettiest girls are always chosen to work the closest with Mr Gothard.”"). A woman, Brooke Arnold, grew up in a family that is a part of this, but later made the decision to leave the organization and live her life the way she wanted, wrote a whole article about the ATI, and here's a part of it.
"Like any system of abuse, ATI relies on control to maintain its power, and a critical component of that power is the total indoctrination of its members through its homeschool curriculum. The so-called “Wisdom Booklets” that form the backbone of ATI children’s educations contain more Bible verses than they do information. Particularly lacking, in a religious sect so obsessed with reproduction, is any kind of sex education. This is especially true for young women, who receive very little sex education because the church teaches us that women do not have sex drives. However, the opposite is believed of men: ATI teaches that men have nearly uncontrollable sex drives ready to erupt at the mere sight of a pant leg or a perm. To illustrate this point: ATI families are encouraged to maintain a “no computer” rule for their sons, but not their daughters. Gothard also encouraged men to turn toward the wall when dining at restaurants so as not to be “tempted” by a waitress or a stray attractive woman.

Not that our supposed lack of sex drive absolved us from sexual responsibility. ATI taught us that it is our job to keep men’s desires from erupting into lust or sexual activity. We were taught that it was our sin if we “cause a man to lust after us.” I spent many nights as an early-developed teenager crying and begging God to take away my large breasts, because I noticed men’s eyes had begun to linger on me during church. Modesty wasn’t only about dress, it was also about behavior. Women were taught from a very young age that they are to be submissive in all things: allowing men to open doors for us (even to get out of a car), never initiating conversation with a man and never correcting a man when he was wrong. Essentially, a good ATI woman is sweet, silent, and obedient.

This combination of zero sexual knowledge and deeply-ingrained submissiveness left many young girls in our church especially vulnerable to sexual abuse. As a teenager, I became aware that several of my friends were being molested by their older brothers or fathers. They would start stilted conversations with me about it, but none of us actually understood the concept of sex or rape or molestation enough to actually discuss it, so it stayed on the level of furtively whispered hints. That vulnerability to abuse increases through the isolation of homeschool. There are no teachers or school counselors for abused children to confide in, so for most of them, the abuse would continue for their entire adolescence. The only hope of escape for young women was through courtship and marriage to a man, who would attempt to immediately impregnate her and to whom she would then relinquish all sexual control."
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This whole thing could lead to a really hard time for the Duggars, especially if their show gets cancelled*, but things would probably have been way easier if they had just handled this properly to begin with.

*Their show probably should be cancelled, even if it is one of TLC's biggest hits. Why should Mama June's boyfriend, also a former child molester and not even someone who was really on the show at all, cause her show to be cancelled but Josh, someone who stars in 19 Kids and Counting, doesn't cause the Duggars show to be cancelled? At least Mama June's boyfriend actually went to prison for the crime he committed. 

**EDIT 6/3/15: However, if some, if not all, of the girls actually have forgiven him and moved on and are all past it and completely happy, good for them, they're a rare case of someone being able to come to terms with what happened to them and getting past it and being happy. For some people that's a really hard place to get to after dealing with sexual abuse, or abuse in general. Some never get there.
BUT, Jessa Seewald, Josh's sister and one of the victims, is saying that calling Josh a child molester is 'going overboard' and I just want to say that it isn't. To her, what he did might not seem like anything more than what the Duggars have been calling it: a mistake. But what he did is and is called child molestation, so because of what he did, whether it's what you don't consider him to be or not, he is or, at the very least, was a child molester. It's just a technicality, and it's also the truth.
Molestation means to:
a) To subject (a child) to sexual contact.  
b) To subject (an adult) to unwanted sexual contact.
In Jessa and Jill's FOX interview on what happened, she says: 
"Josh was a boy, a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls," says Jessa. "And that got him into some trouble. And he made some bad choices, but, really, the extent of it was mild – inappropriate touching on fully clothed victims, most of it while [the] girls were sleeping."
While the victims were fully clothed, it was still a sexual touch, an inappropriate touch. I was in an abusive relationship through the ages of 15-17, and my ex-boyfriend molested me, while I was sleeping, and I would wake up to him doing it and if I tried to stop him, he'd stop. For the night, He'd do it again another time, most nights in fact, as I stayed over at his house. I wore clothes when I slept, I never agreed to anything sexual. He didn't have permission when he would do these things, he molested me. Having the victim be fully clothed when it happens doesn't make it any less than what it is. (Granted, Brian was a shit ton worse than Josh was when it comes to what he did, and Brian was just a bad person in general. He wasn't going through puberty, or curious about a girls body, he just wanted sex, that's not the case for Josh though, but when it comes to Josh, what he did is still molestation.)

**EDIT 6/4/15: To make something clear, in light of Jessa and Jill being upset about everyone who is talking about what happened to them, I made this post simply because I do not like how people, including the Duggars, have called this a mistake, and have been making light of a situation like this. I realize that that's what they truly feel, that he made a mistake, which he did, but his mistake is also a crime, and to shed light on how this whole thing could have been worsened by how the ATI functions, considering the Duggars are a part of it and very active in it.  I'm using the Duggars molestation case as a kind of platform for other people who, like them, are in the ATI and may be suffering abuse from a member of their family, or perhaps even a member of their church, to try and point out that that system is flawed and needs to be changed.
In a way, I agree that this whole thing should not have gotten out because it is very much their business and the victims of what happened do not need to have the things that happened to them plastered all over the place, and people commenting things about it all over their instagram and twitter because as Michelle stated, at least a couple of the girls, if not all of them, didn't understand what was happening or know what happened to them until someone told them. 
Yet, I think, in at least a couple ways, it's good that it got out. One being that the Duggars are very much into politics and while they may think their views are right and that if they were to get into the senate or maybe even one day one of them becomes president, that they can change things to be what they consider the 'right way', and I don't think they should be in the senate or in congress or whatever, because their views are very ignorant and given the right power, dangerous. Josh having this out about him, while painful for those of which are in his life and that he is close to, it might, even if it's just slightly, damage his political career, and it might seem awful of me to be happy about that, but I am. Two being that it brings attention to ATI which people should shed more light on and how detrimental it can be to the health and safety of the girls and women who are apart of it.

RELATED LINKS/SOURCES:
If you or anyone you know is going through something like this, please do something about it. It's not something to take lightly.

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