Perspective: In defense of Josh Duggar

Phoenix Webb

Josh Duggar is not a monster, baby raper or child molester. He is a victim of circumstances and ignorant parents.

Strict rules that negatively impacted Josh Duggar’s sexual development and a mother distracted with 18 other children are the circumstances that may have led him to inappropriately touch his sisters as a teenager.

The Duggar family has been in pop culture since 2008 when their reality show “17 Kids and Counting” first aired on TLC and the parents announced the expectation of their eighteenth child. The name of the show later changed to “19 Kids and Counting.”

During season one, “Duggar Dating Rules” explained how their conservative Christian views impacted their children’s dating and marriage behaviors: no dating (only courting that should lead to marriage), no hand-holding, no kissing, no unsupervised interaction with the courting partner, and side hugs only.

According to simplypsychology.org, Sigmund Freud proposed that there are five fixed stages of psychosexual development: oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital. The last stage, genital, takes place starting in puberty through adulthood. According to Freud, it is a time in which sexual experimentation happens during adolescence, leading to settling down in a monogamous relationship in one’s 20s.

Freud’s ideas aside, Josh Duggar was a teenage boy and if he had an upbringing that supported healthy attitudes about carnal matters and self exploration, as is supposed to happen in our development, he would not have gone near his sisters.

The two strongest drives in humans is the need to eat and the need to procreate and human hormones are at their strongest in adolescence. Teenagers are rather frisky beings and typically, they start dating and experimenting with their sexuality.

Take a horny teenage boy, severely restrict his base instincts to have sex, add in far right fundamental Christian “values” and “morals” and what develops is a young man with seriously un-satiated desires, unbridled curiosity and stagnated sexual energy. That energy has to go somewhere.

Josh Duggar had no social circle outside of church and home and both were curtailed. Is it really any wonder that he would touch his sleeping sisters and their friends?

What Duggar did was not a criminal act. Unethical, yes. Immoral, yes. The official police report as was published at In Touch Weekly and dated May 19, 2005, shows the dates of Josh Duggar’s acts as having occurred in March 2002, just after his 14th birthday, July 2002 and again in March 2003 — the same month of his 15th birthday.

Three curious things about the police report: each time the parents were alerted to their son’s wrongdoing, it was Josh who was self reporting and showing emotional contrition. The parents did not decide to seek help for their son until the second time he reported; Afterwards they sent him to a Christian program.

The oddest point of interest in the police report was that a letter of admission was written, and put in a book that was loaned to someone outside of the family. One can only imagine what went through their minds as they called the Arkansas State Police Hotline.

The parents attempted to contain the information and resolve it on their own. Given their religious background it’s understandable to see why they sent their son to a Christian program, but they should have sought out a licensed and professional psychologist to treat him and the girls he inappropriately touched.

Sending their son to a Christian treatment program may have worsened their son’s stifled sexuality due to what was probably a lot of shaming about what he did. He was probably advised to take it to Jesus, leave it at the cross and a lot of other fervent, emotionally charged statements.

In her emailed reply to a request for comment, licensed clinical psychologist Aliya Fonseca wrote: “Starting discussions early about their bodies and let them ask questions about what they like to feel and see on their bodies and others. Allow the child to explore without feeling shamed or punished. This will allow them to understand how being touched makes them feel and encourage them to trust their feelings. Open communication is what will allow a child to speak on any topic that they are uncertain about, most importantly their bodies.” Fonseca specializes in the treating of sexual abuse and incest victims.