How The Duggars' Homeschooling Lessons Forced Victims Into Silence
As the fallout continues from the revelation that reality TV star Josh Duggar, the eldest of 19 children, molested five girls when he was a teenager, a new light has been shone on their homeschooling lessons, which encouraged a culture of silence around sexual abuse.
Through their TLC show 19 Kids And Counting, the Duggars became the most famous adherents of Bill Gothard's Institute in Basic Life Principles and its homeschooling curriculum known as the Advanced Training Institute. The website Recovering Grace, which offers support to people raised under IBLP/ATI, has excerpts of Gothard's literature that shows how his teachings forces victims into silence.
This page specifically shows how sexual abuse is handled under the ATI:
The Duggars use Bill Gothard's Advanced Training Institute for homeschooling. This is how sexual abuse is approached: pic.twitter.com/hSqOKUk0uv— Sarah Galo (@SarahEvonne) May 22, 2015
At Defeating The Dragons, Samantha Field explains that being raised in a "purity" culture teaches victims that sexual abuse is partly to blame on the victim. "They have been taught since they [were] extremely young that women are capable of tempting the most holy man to sin, that women can provoke men into raping them, that if something bad happened they must always look for their part in the blame," Field writes. "Because they contributed to their own assault, they don't have the ability to pursue justice. They were duty-bound to 'forgive' their abuser because, after all, it was their fault, too."
Gothard himself was accused of inappropriately touching and molesting several employees and eventually resigned from IBLP, the organization he founded himself.
Although In Touch published the police report from 2006 about Josh Duggar's offenses, the documents from the investigation have since been destroyed, according to the AP, under the orders of an Arkansas judge.
The Duggar family is engrained in the Republican Party in Arkansas. Former governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, whose campaign kickoff event was attended by Duggar parents Jim Bob and Michelle, expressed his support for the family on Friday. Josh Duggar lost his job with the Family Research Council in light of the revelations.