Earlier this summer, we wrote about a news story that sparked controversy, anger and a lot of public discussions. It involved the Duggar family, of the now-cancelled TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting.” The family’s wholesome image was tarnished by surfacing allegations that the eldest son Josh had molested five girls starting when he was 14. Most of the victims were his younger sisters.
That the sexual abuse ever took place was bad enough on its own. But what truly outraged many Americans was learning how Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar had mishandled the abuse by protecting Josh from any serious consequences while failing to seek professional help and support for their daughters.
In light of the allegations, TLC decided to cancel the family’s reality series and has lost $19 million as a result. At the end of this month, TLC will reportedly be airing a one-hour special called “Breaking the Silence,” which focuses on the problem of child sex abuse. Collaborating on the project are two of the country’s best-known victim advocacy organizations, “Darkness to Light” and the “Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network” (RAINN).
The one-hour, commercial-free program will feature the stories of sex-abuse survivors, including Jill and Jessa Duggar. It is unclear how much of the documentary will focus on the Duggars, but we must hope that the attention is centered on the larger issue rather than just the experiences of this one family.
With collaboration from RAINN and Darkness to Light, TLC has a real opportunity to raise awareness and encourage discussion about child sexual abuse. The first step in truly facing and addressing the problem is having the courage to talk about it.
If you want to watch “Breaking the Silence,” it airs on Sunday, August 30th.
Source: Us Weekly, “TLC Reveals Date for Child Sex Abuse Documentary Spurred by Duggar Scandal,” Joyce Chen, Aug. 13, 2015