I've lost the last week and few days to the news that Josh Duggar sexually molested five girls in the space of something like two years. Every hour or so there's newer spins on what happened and greater detail, meaning I have to stop and update NLQ or I'm busy combing through the piles of comments to remove the nasty ones.
It's been a very hard time for me personally because between seven and nine years old I was sexually molested by the family dentist, who I didn't know was also molesting another family member several years older than I.
The news of Josh Duggar's doings and reading through the police reports only to discover that four of his victims are closely related to him has been so hideously triggering to me that I've taken to having a few refreshing adult beverages in the late afternoon. It's either that or the whole banging my head on the wooden desk.
When it happened to me I didn't have actual words to describe what was being done to me to my mother. She thought that every time I cried and freaked out over having to go to the dentist that I was afraid of it hurting or it was 'nerves'. She took to giving me a small corner off one of her Miltowns (Meprobamate) to sort of zonk me out before the appointment. She never realized that all she did was increase the attacks on me now that I was no longer crying and resisting. I lay there like a zombie while he did what he wanted. What happened to me got terribly worse until she suddenly stopped taking me to that dentist. I've never worked up the courage to ask her why we stopped going, but I'd have to reveal to her what happened to me and I'm not sure at this point it would serve any purpose.
If I, as a young girl in a non-religious family of backslidden Catholics that only visited church for marryings, buryings and holidays had no good words to describe to anyone in my life what was happening in the exam room at the dentist office then what chance did the victims of Josh Duggar's abuse have? They were all raised in the carefully sheltered world of ATI and Quiverfull Christianity, where the idea of consent is non-existent, and the idea of sexual predators was taught wrapped up in modesty and pointing towards non-Christian strangers, not people in the family unit. What chance did those girls have to report what was going on? None, because to report would be to open oneself up for criticism for possibly luring the lustful behavior in some way.
What happened for me is that while I did finally get therapy and help for my molestation in my thirties after years of internalizing the message that I was somehow 'dirty' or 'damaged'. The other thing is that when I started having children I was hyper vigilant to an extreme. I wouldn't allow Margaret to go anywhere without knowing all the details in extreme. Once I was putting the school chaperones through the verbal wringer before a four day trip to Holland to the point where one of the suggested it might be better if I chaperones rather than allow Margaret to go alone.
I attended every doctors appointment and insisted on going into the dental examination room with each of my kids. I insisted they stay within view of the house when they played outside, many times gardening so I could keep an eye on the kids outside. Margaret still complains about my rules about being home by dark even into her teenage years. Yes, I was a bit overbearing because of what happened to me.
Betting that one of the things that will happen to the victims of Josh Duggar will be that they develop into hyper-vigilant mommas too.
In Touch did one very wrong thing in how they exposed what had been whispered and gossiped about for ten plus years, they did such a horrible job redacting the police reports it was beyond obvious who the victims were. Even with one of the victims suing to destroy the reports it's too late, we all know, and a cat that should never have seen the light of day is now out of the bag. No among of destroying the documents is going to help, no carefully tippytoe-ing around the issue by those online, it's happened. I suspect knowing that everyone realizes is going to make the victims even more hyper-vigilant. It didn't have to be like that.
Even animal victims of abuse, not sexual abuse but abuse never the less, develop a hyper-vigilance. It's draining always being on high alert. My Siamese kitty Pedro was all of perhaps eight weeks when I picked him up at the animal shelter. They told me he was feral, starved and filthy when they found him. I believe after his being part of our family for the last six years that Pedro was abused too. He is still to this day very frightened of raised voices and feet. You can see it in his body posture many times that he's in hyper-vigilance mode most of the time.
The week plus I've been dealing with my own triggered emotions, updating NLQ so often I now have carpel tunnel issues with both hands including the one I had the surgery on nine years ago and developing a taste for alcohol in the afternoons, I've also had to deal with Pedro and his surgery and post-surgery care.
Pedro has cancer, but they think they removed it all. It would never have been found if not for my obsessional vigilant self. I brought him in initially because I kept feeling a growing lump on him. Which made me think about parenting and sexual abuse. Keeping your eyes open to changes in not just your animals but your children can go a long way to stopping abuse. If your child starts behaving in a manner that suggested something is wrong it's better to look at the why instead of ignoring it.
I hope and pray that the victims in this mess get a chance to have real therapy with a counselor skilled in childhood sexual abuse recovery.