crying girl

Someone I’ve known and adored for several years has asked me to share something deeply personal with you, something relevant to recent revelations about the Duggar family. I had no idea that this had happened to her until she entrusted me to get her own story out. She felt a responsibility to bare her soul on this horrific episode of her life, because she felt it necessary to clarify a few very painful points to people who refuse to believe that it is indeed possible that young children who have been molested may not even be conscious of– much less be able to make sense of– their trauma.

My friend and her brother were both molested by the same male relative, and she now feels compelled to reveal the excruciating details of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of abuse by a trusted– and clearly disturbed– member of the family. And to have “afraid, clueless” parents who exponentially magnify the psychological damage. Hurt of this magnitude is clearly not limited to the act itself, but also the immeasurable aftershocks felt by the abused, the toxic side effects that heighten the raw emotional torment, the choke that follows each gut punch of denial.

In her own words: “I have

[information] on why/how the Duggar victims may have been affected even if they truly were asleep or didn’t understand what happened.”

We both hope the account below helps any survivor of such a devastating experience to feel validated and to take some small comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Here is her email, verbatim:

When I was a kid, I fairly well worshiped one of my cousins, a boy 9 years older than I am. He lived two blocks away and was my favorite baby-sitter. He told ghost stories, whirled me and my brother around the yard, and was the coolest human being we knew.

He let me sit in his lap and rock back and forth on his knee when we watched TV.

From the time I was 8, I started occasionally having blood or other discharges in my panties but didn’t know why. I had regular vaginal infections. A school nurse once saw my panties and asked if I was OK. I had no idea what she was asking or why.

At the same time, I started occasionally having blackouts. I’d wake up in the morning with no clear memory of the night before. I woke up once in “the wrong pajamas” — a pair of flannel capris with a matching red-striped top that buttoned. I hated those pajamas and never would have chosen them for myself. They were too small. I told my mom the next morning and confessed that I didn’t remember going to bed. Mom told me that cousin told her I’d fallen asleep watching TV, so he changed me into my pajamas and carried me to bed. Somehow, mom was OK with a 17-year-old boy changing the clothes of a sleeping 8-year-old girl. Again, I had no idea I was being abused by him, but mom should have.

She later told me that she did believe me when I said that I didn’t want him to babysit anymore because I didn’t like forgetting my nights, but she was afraid of explaining to her sister why I wanted girl babysitters only. So she didn’t.

On my 10th birthday, he took me and my brother for pizza while our parents were all involved with a funeral that took place that day. My special treat was that I was allowed to drive his car on our dead end street after dinner. My brother was sent into the house, and I sat on my cousin’s lap and steered down the street. He then turned the car around while I sat in the passenger seat. He then took something very smelly and ugly from his pocket, put it in my mouth, and squirted. Yes, my birthday present was his blow job.

He went away to college soon after my birthday and the abuse probably stopped, but I am not certain. I don’t remember a whole lot of my interactions with him between then and when I went off to college years later and his attempts to re-ignite a “relationship” put our earlier interactions into context and sent me screaming to a counselor.

So, like the Duggar girls, I was not aware that I was being abused because I didn’t understand any of what was happening. I was most probably drugged. I still don’t know what led to the many vaginal infections or why no one investigated. But I was most definitely affected by my experience, both at the time and into adulthood. The Duggar girls need counseling. Their emotional well-being matters and the next generation of Duggars must be protected. Their parents are as clueless as mine were, and afraid to protect their daughters if it were to affect the family financially. But we as a nation know more, and I would hope we would care more.

Thanks for allowing me to express my thoughts.