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Josh Duggar

Josh Duggar Facing Lawsuit for Molestation – My Thoughts

I saw the news story that one of Josh Duggar’s five molestation victims (the non-family member) is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against him. The first thought that crossed my mind when I read this was: “Good!”

On one hand, I’m annoyed that the statute of limitations has run out on the criminal case in this situation; however, the silver lining of that is that no one can invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked questions about what happened. I am curious to see who all will be named in the lawsuit, if it will be just Josh, or if claims will be brought against his parents, church leaders, and the police as well.

Everyone Knows Someone Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted (From the One in Three Exhibit by Stacey Champion)

Everyone Knows Someone Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted (From the One in Three Exhibit by Stacey Champion)

One of the things that is annoying about being a sexual assault survivor and an advocate for victim’s rights, is the fact that there are statutes of limitations in many states that forbid victims from filing criminal charges or civil lawsuits against their perpetrators if they wait too long. In my situation, my statute of limitations to bring criminal charges ran out the day I turned 26. My abuser will never face criminal charges for what he did to me. There is a good chance that my statute of limitations has also run for civil charges, depending on how you look at the situation.

Even when the criminal statute of limitations has run out (in states that impose such limits – though I disagree with this too), perpetrators should still be held responsible for the physical and emotional damage they cause. If I ever become a political activist, I would want to dedicate my energy to changing the law so that sexual abuse and assault victims can always file civil suits against their perpetrators. If the victim can prove to a court of law that the perpetrator is responsible for harming the victim, then that person should be responsible for paying the victim financial damages that will offset the cost of their medical bills, therapy, medication, and pain they may endure for the rest of their lives.

The applicable Arkansas law gives victims a three-year window in which to file a civil lawsuit for childhood sexual abuse. This may mean that only one of Josh’s victims will ever have the chance to pursue damages for the harm he caused. If his other victims (his sisters) decide they want to file a lawsuit later, they may not be able to, and that is a tragedy.

Statute of limitations have their place – we don’t want someone waiting ten years after a fender bender to request money for their physical injuries because by then it could be too hard to determine what caused the victim’s injuries. However, that is not necessarily the case in sexual assault cases. Yes, the person bringing the case will still have the burden of proving that the perpetrator is responsible for causing their injuries, which may be more difficult to do the longer the person waits to file a lawsuit; however, the passage of time shouldn’t be a knocks to bar that attempt to get justice.

I hope Josh Duggar’s victim files a civil lawsuit against him and everyone else who contributed to her injuries. I’m curious to hear what will come out in public testimony if this case goes to court.

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse or assault, please know that you are not alone. If you need help, there are amazing organizations out there like RAINN and 1in6.

Thoughts on the Duggar Girls’ Interview about being Molested by their Brother

empty..  by mirasview from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

empty.. by mirasview from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I watched the interview that Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard did on Fox News about the recent media attention around the fact that Josh Duggar molested five girls when he was a teenager. Four of his victims are his sisters, including Jessa and Jill. I’m going to make no comments or judgments about anything these young women said during their interview. They are entitled to their experiences and I respect whatever thoughts and feelings they have.

The only place I disagree is with Jessa’s statement that she dislikes that people are calling Josh a pedophile and child molester. She may use whatever term she wants, but I will continue to all him a child molester because the label fits the behavior. But I won’t call him a pedophile at this time since pedophilia requires a sexual attraction to children, and he hasn’t disclosed having these feelings.

One thing I noted about this interview was that only two of Josh’s sister-victims decided to be interview, the married ones. It made me wonder if the other two decided not to participate because they were afraid it would hurt their chances of finding a partner and getting married in the future. I hope that is not the case. I hope they don’t feel any shame or guilt because this story has become widespread.

Coming out as a sexual assault survivor is a personal decision and I hope none of the Duggars felt obligated to disclose that they were victimized by Josh. I make no judgment about any of the girls’ decisions to speak out or remain silent at this time. I’m simply making an observation about this situation.

I know what it’s like to feel shame about surviving sexual assault and it’s not a sensation I wish on anyone. I hope these girls and the other children in the family have the support they need and a feeling of peace and security about themselves.

If you want to read it – here’s my earlier post about Josh Duggar being a child molester.