To Josh Duggar

August 21, 2015/Soapbox

When I read the headline this morning that Josh Duggar’s name appeared among the many others in the recent leak of who has been cheating on their spouses through the Ashley Madison adultery website, on top of the news that he molested several of his sisters, my gut reaction was disgust, hate, and distain. I’m pretty sure my lip snarled as I thought of what kind of person would do these wretched things.

And then I paused. A small voice in my head answered, “a hurting one.”  Compassion filled my heart as I thought about why people turn to aberrant behaviors.

Oprah once did an entire show on how the state of your house is a reflection of your deepest feelings. I equally believe that people’s actions reveal a lot about what they are feeling, whether conscious or not. If I’ve learned anything in the my short 38 years, it’s that people’s behavior is a reflection of what’s going on emotionally – behind the masks that they show the world.

We are a people who have taken something meant as a gift between two consensual people and have made it into something to feed us emotionally. Because the high sex brings is fleeting, we return over and over for a fix.  So here are my words for Josh:

Your behavior is absolutely unacceptable, but it doesn’t have to define you.

According to surveys 70% of men have cheated on their wives and a growing number of women are reporting the same (up to 50%).

Between 20% and 33% of females have reported being sexually assaulted by the time they graduate from college (includes childhood victims through date rape) depending on which study you look at. Focusing on just one field of study – science – The Washington Post reported last year that 64% of women on scientific field sites are sexually harassed by supervisors and peers, with 20% of them reporting being sexually assaulted by supervisors.  If you broaden your research across medical situations, military environments and college campuses, the numbers are astounding.

What I’m saying, Josh, is that your despicable behavior has been made public, but numbers tell us they are all too commonplace. We have a culture that has made sex into a commodity and it is undermining the underpinnings of everything else. Men and women look to sex for gratification, affirmation, and emotional highs.

The ironic thing is that while the sexualization of absolutely everything from jeans to razors to food is not only condoned, but celebrated, when the affects of such focus are reported, it’s with great shock and disgust. No one wants to talk about the fact that the majority of people are numbing themselves with fantasies, affairs, and orgasms.

The truth is that your behavior isn’t the result of you being a horrible person. It’s the result of you using sex for something it was never meant to do – – filling an emotional void. 48% of adulterous men admit it was due to emotional disconnection. No matter how many young girls you violate, no matter how many women you jerk off to, and no matter how many consensual affairs you participate in, you will not feel satisfied or loved.

It’s your responsibility to figure out what’s missing in your life emotionally to stop the tidal wave of misconduct. You’re barking up the wrong tree anyway.

Find yourself a good counselor and figure out how to be authentic with those around you. Vulnerability is hard and takes courage, but it’s lifesaving.

We would all be better off if we took off the mask, stopped acting appalled and shocked when sexual misconduct happened as if it isn’t the norm, and started connecting emotionally with those around us. Maybe then, we could see a drop in numbers of children and adults who are viewed as fixings on a buffet cart and valued for the people they are.

Comments (8)

  • Lisa McGriff / August 21, 2015 / Reply

    Very well said!

    • denise hovermale / August 21, 2015 / Reply

      well said indeed, my thoughts exactly, it breaks my heart to see so many women and men be lead astray, devalued by our culture today. the Lord’s word says the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy and this is a perfect example of the consquences.prayers that all will reach out to the Lord for guidance

  • Richelle / August 21, 2015 / Reply

    Thank you, Leighann! I hate how the media and everyone around is tearing this guy to shreds. Yes, what he did and has done in the past is awful and hurt many people, but he’s human. I’m not trying to make excuses for him. But I hate how everyone is like, Anna should drop him like a hot rock, and say she’s stupid if she stays! Anna should do what Anna feels God wants her to do. If she wants to stay with her husband and have faith that they can work things out, then I hope all goes well for them. I compare it to Bill and Hillary Clinton. He cheated and and all sorts of affairs and was even accused of sexual assault by some women, but some people think Hillary is so strong and look up to her for staying with him through it all. I often wish people’s private lives could remain “private”. I hate the media more every day.

  • Gieta / August 21, 2015 / Reply

    Please write a letter to Anna! My heart is broken for her.

  • Michelle Bogart / August 21, 2015 / Reply

    I was molested by my uncle and my father. The fact that they excuse him on that due to his age is so much worse to me than the adultery. I know no sin is any worse than another but personally I can’t feel that way about child sexual abuse. I feel sorry for his children and his wife but I will NEVER understand her trusting him to help raise their children after what he did. They can couch it in less aggressive terms but what Josh Duggar is, is a pedophile.

    I don’t blame the Duggars’ life style for it, I don’t blame Anna for it, I don’t blame his sisters for it, I blame Josh for it. God may have to forgive if asked but I don’t have to. I don’t feel it makes me petty, it makes me human. I am flawed like any other human on this planet but there are some flaws that we shouldn’t just sweep under the rug.

    I am appalled at how many people are more disgusted by the adultery than by the sexual abuse of children. These girls had to LIVE with their molester after that! My molester is not in my home and hasn’t been since my late teens- but make no mistake, he has affected me for the rest of my life. It is unconscionable that the Duggars’ felt they could handle this “youthful indiscretion” on their own and leave him with his victims.

    I know that I should, “Judge not lest ye be judged” but I am okay with that. There are some things that are just not forgivable from a human point of view.

    So I will respectfully agree to disagree and you are definitely a better woman than me to be able to use the we are all flawed reasoning. I wish I could do that too.

    • (Author) Leighann / August 21, 2015 / Reply

      I hope this article doesn’t come across as telling Josh or anyone else to sweep something as serious as adultery or child molestation under the rug. I believe the exact opposite in fact. Part of the point of the article is that this type of behavior is happening all too frequently, and instead of addressing the issue with real solutions, society tends to point fingers and ostracize the person instead of having a conversation about how to avoid the behaviors in the first place.

      My heart very much goes out to you for all you’ve had to endure.

      • Michelle Bogart / August 21, 2015 / Reply

        Unfortunately I don’t believe it happens any more than it did before. I think it is just publicized more. There have been stories of “funny uncles” going back a very long time. The Internet has made the world a smaller place and its also shone some light in previously dark corners. Thank you for the respectful discussion.

  • truann / September 9, 2015 / Reply

    As the mother of a 30 year old son who this past year suffered a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with a mood disorder, I am now wondering if Josh has suffered similar or has had this condition from very young and something put him “over the edge”. Mood disorder is a brain disorder and the most godly person can do horrendous things which are beyond their control.

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