But there were already many of us quietly recovering from this social experiment that was conservative Christian home school culture and it wasn’t pretty.
Healthy sexuality offers desire and hopes for desire in return.
What path are we talking about? Are we talking about a boy who was mentally immature for his age and pubescent body who acted out of child like relative innocence? Or are we talking about a tall, teen who found exploiting young children exhilarating?
We are not talking about a 14 year old making out, or even sleeping with his 14 year old mutually interested girlfriend in youth group. I would argue that even then 14 year olds are probably to young and not developed enough to be aware of the largeness and life long impact of that kind of behavior, regardless of morality.
But we aren't talking about mutual, pubescent, experimentation. We are talking about what seems to me to suggest possible predatory behavior.
Some psychologists suggest that a certain level of curiosity and even behavior (wanting to view opposite or same gender, mimicking kissing, sensual hugging, or backrubs etc) is normal development when it occurs to a level to be expected for a child's age and with another child in the same development stage (generally two year age range).
This kind of behavior obviously does not have to be encouraged but is an excellent chance to begin conversation with a child on body anatomy and appropriate behavior.
However, sexual or sensual acts with a child much younger, OR that seems unlikely a child of that age would know (initiating specific sex acts, etc.) can often be a sign of previous sexual abuse in the perpetrator or predatory intent.
(Please check out this very helpful guide to know what is normal or concerning sexually for your child's age and development. http://www.safersociety.org/uploads/WP075-DoChildren.pdf)
These children were under the age of 12, down to age five. By virtue of their age and lack of development they were unable to consent, but further were violated because this was often happening while they slept.
And this is not just his sisters. There was another girl whose identity we do not know.
Morally, you may find both offensive. But they are NOT equal.
This is like saying that two adults who choose adultery is the same as a woman who is brutally raped. Or two adults who sleep together before marriage in a consenting way is the same as a person who molests a child.
Again. These may all classify as sinful according to your religious beliefs but they are definitely not the same, morally OR legally.
And by the way? The bible says the person who hurts a child would be better off being violently drowned by others than facing God. The bible doesn't say that about homosexuality, and yet the Duggars and many others minimize child abuse while actively persecuting adults who do not even have the same beliefs that they do!
Once again there I believe this comes from a lack of understanding human integrity, consent and contradiction in beliefs.
This is why Mrs. Duggar has no problem referring to all gay and trans-gender persons as child molesters, and why she doesn’t see her horrifying and disgusting description as hypocritical.
Sexuality is something that has to be encouraged to develop in a safe, healthy, informed way, - just like EVERY part of child’s mind and body.
What I find fascinating about this scandal is that so many people are quickly wanting to dismiss it since 'it happened so long ago', and 'the kids seem so happy now'.
For those of us who were raised in ATI and understand the underlying aspects of this case it is hard for us to simply dismiss this case.
This case is unique in that right now the grown children are supporting their parent's decisions and handling of the matter. It is vital to note though that we have NOT heard from children still at home, and I see it highly unlikely we ever will.
According to ATI teaching, the children living at home are 'under' Mr. Duggar's authority and he has the duty and right to speak for them on every issue.
The only kids to speak out are the perpetrator himself, and two of the girls who are already married and quite happy in their life which seems to be following in their parent's beliefs and choices with little to no exceptions. In other words, we are hearing from children who now believe exactly like the Duggar parents.
I predict that this is the new issue to face homeschool culture.
In this past year more and more reports of neglect and abuse emerge from LARGE home school families. Families with 8 or more children have small children in a home for twenty years or more. The past and present blur in a way that smaller families cannot relate. It is no easy thing to start your own family and have siblings the ages of your children. Parenting while you watch your parents parent is interesting and difficult in the best of situations.
If you begin parenting and realize the extent to which what you thought was normal was actually abusive and damaging, and watch your younger siblings going through the same or worse, it is incredibly painful.
In many recent cases it is the older children in a family who are being instrumental in either reporting or testifying against their parents, an excruciating choice.
In many cases I know personally,- once the older children are brave and healed enough to speak up, they are finding that the statute of limitation has passed and there are no legal actions available to them but are desperate to help siblings who are still being raised by (now older) parents who were the original perpetrators or supporters of neglect/ abuse.
I know of many cases where older siblings are directly taking financial, physical and educational responsibilities of their younger siblings entirely on themselves.
You would be amazed at the number of adult children of larger families I know who are the only reason their younger siblings are receiving any kind of education, and are actively responsible for supporting their siblings and parents in almost every way.
The real question is what WE are going to do about it.