Dear Duggar Sisters*,
I’ve only seen your show a time or two and know very little about you except what I’ve read online. I’m not a fan of TLC and have very different spiritual and political beliefs from what your parents share publicly. Sadly the one thing we really have in common is probably the most unfortunate event of each of our young lives. Let me share a few things with you that I think it’s important for you to hear:
- In case no one has said it, I am so sorry this happened to you. No one deserves to have their body…the place where your soul lives… touched against their will. You did nothing to deserve this. You were not in the wrong. You have NO SHAME in this situation.
- Your brother and his actions are NOT your responsibly. You owe him nothing. Grace, mercy, and forgiveness are not things to be demanded of you by your parents, your church, other Christians or the media. Those are gifts freely given on your terms. You do not owe him your sympathy and you are the keeper of your willingness to forgive. Let me be super clear…you should feel NO responsibility towards this person. If you choose generosity and grace, good for you. If the very next day, you harbor resentment for your stolen innocence, good for you. I repeat, no matter what anyone says to you, You owe him NOTHING.
- According to the story being told, your parents allowed him back into the home after he had hurt the four of you. I am so sorry for any time that you didn’t feel safe in your own home. Because you were victimized in your own home and he was allowed to live near you after he hurt you, I know that sometimes you probably didn’t or don’t feel safe in your own bed, the bathroom, your backyard. The day will come when you can pick where you want to live, how to secure your home, and who gets to come into it. When that day comes I want you to practice saying these words, “No, you can’t come into MY house.” and “You are going to have to leave MY house.”
- More importantly, some day you will feel safe in your own body again. You will feel like you can protect it and that you get to decide how every inch of your body is used, who has the privilege of touching you (sexually and non-sexually), and what it means to set boundaries about your own flesh. Your body belongs to you. Even though it may not feel like that now…your body is your possession and no one can take it from you.
- You deserve to tell your story to someone you can trust. It doesn’t sound like that is your parents or your church elders. But one day you can find someone who is trained to help you through the hurt of what has happened. This will help you trust yourself, your body, and your safety again. Seek out people who will work with you through the worst of it, challenge you to trust yourself again, and give you good council about how to make your way in the world as survivors and not victims.
- I hope that you 4 sisters are each others support system. I hope that you create space where anything can be said between the four of you without fear or shame. And I hope each of you has a best friend or best friends who you can tell your story to and receive love, acceptance, and support. Make a circle of support for yourself…and when you are ready be part of a circle of support for others.
Above all, you ladies should know, God who holds the Universe in her hand loves you and accepts you as you are. You are not broken. You are not damaged. You are not meant to live in shame and you were not born to carry this burden. This abuse…these moments in time…do not define you.
Bless you sweet Sisters.
From my heart to yours,
*Note: To the sweet girl who was assaulted who is not one of the sisters…I mean all of these things for you as well. I pray your family steps in and nurtures you into good health. All that I told the sisters is true of you as well. You deserve good things and a healthy future.