Josh Duggar Scandal: How Much Child Sexual Abuse Occurs Within Religious Cults?

Josh and Anna Duggar and their children (E! Online)

Josh and Anna Duggar and their children (E! Online)

Last month, eldest son of the “19 Kids and Counting” Duggar clan Josh Duggar admitted he’d sexually molested five girls when he was 14 years old in 2002, some of which were his sisters. (When these incidents took place, Duggar had five sisters, who ranged in age from four to 12.)

More revelations came out over the days that followed: Duggar was sent away to a friend who had a home remodeling business after he admitted what he’d done; he didn’t receive any counseling, contrary to what had initially been stated, and Duggar was given a minor talking-to from Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens, who’s now in prison for child pornography. After the allegations came to light, a judge ordered the incriminating documents be destroyed, apparently on behalf of one of the alleged victims.

The Duggar family is part of the Quiverfull movement, a worldview that purports to be about Christianity and living Biblically. Earmarks of being Quiverfull include having lots of children (supplying Christian soldiers to prepare for the upcoming spiritual battle), dressing modestly and shaming victims of sexual abuse.

Until now, the fact that the Quiverfull movement is a cult has flown under the radar. But now it’s come under the scrutiny of a full-fledged public spotlight.

I wanted to find some statistics on sexual abuse, especially child/incestual sexual abuse, within cults. Unsurprisingly, I was unable to find anything. No long-range studies have been done. This makes sense: Cults usually want to cover their tracks, and make themselves look like they aren’t cults at all and are completely normal. In terms of gathering information, it’d be very hard to infiltrate and gain members’ trust to get an accurate picture of what occurs within one. Even if a member did admit to something, they might see it as totally normal.

Unfortunately, the statue of limitations on Duggar’s heinous acts has now expired. But now we have some idea of the long-ranging detrimental effects of the Quiverfull movement. There are better ways to help victims of sexual abuse and molestation, regardless of their personal viewpoint.

 

 

 

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