Duggar Critics Detail Abuse, Survival on Reddit in Wake of Josh Scandal

by at .  Updated at .

When Josh Duggar was convicted of receiving and possessing child pornography earlier this month, many longtime critics of his family experienced a whirlwind of mixed emotions.

With Josh being locked away there would be one less predator on the street. Everyone can breathe a little easier in that regard.

Moreover, the most problematic family in the history of reality television is finally going to experience some actual repercussions.

Still, this was no time for celebration.

Josh Duggar's Post-Conviction Mug Shot

A tragedy had unfolded under Jim Bob and Michelle's supervision, and for far too long, a predator operated with impunity in a quiet corner of Northwest Arkansas.

Many who watched the trial unfold felt their hearts break for the victims, just as they experienced a profound sense of relief at knowing that Josh would finally be held accountable.

This was not your typical reality television scandal, and it left thousands feeling as though they needed someone to talk to.

Picture of Josh Duggar

And so, the beloved r/DuggarSnark subreddit emerged as a safe place for survivors of sexual assault to discuss the ways in which the trial affected them on a personal level.

According to a new report published by Jezebel, r/DuggarSnark experienced its highest traffic to date during the trial.

That's not a surprise - but much of the content came from survivors seeking to vent their frustration or share their relief with others who have experienced their trauma. 

Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar Throwback Picture

A moderator who goes by the name Estes tells Jezebel that she “never experienced something so crazy” as the surge in traffic that took place during the trial.

“Every day it got more busy,” she said.

“Our mod queue was always filling, it never stayed empty for more than a few seconds.”

Josh Duggar at a Game

A first-time visitor to r/DuggarSnark might be inclined to conclude that during Josh's trial, the subreddit became something more than just a place to trade jokes about TV's most ridiculous family.

But the truth is, it's always been more than that.

Much more than that.

The Masked Devil

From the very beginning of their time on TLC, the Duggars sought to normalize a number of damaging ideas and behaviors.

Survivors of cults recognized the danger right away.

And so, online communities emerged to help combat the Duggar messaging that had been platformed and legitimized by TLC.

Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar on 19 Kids and Counting.

Longtime followers of the family might remember blogs like "Free Jinger," which emerged during the early days of 19 Kids and Counting in order to alert viewers of what takes place just off camera in the Duggar household.

Jim Bob and company are members of the Quiverfull movement and the Institute for Basic Life Principles.

Both are disgraced organizations which teach that women are put on earth for the sole purposes of worshipping God and making babies.

Josh Duggar Close Up

For all intents and purposes, women in these communities are not allowed to work or to divorce their husbands.

And, of course, the code of silence in the Duggars' world is enough to rival the Mafia.

Needless to say, it's the sort of environment in which abuse runs rampant, and predators like Josh are free to continue claiming victims, even after community leaders are made aware of their atrocities.

Josh D

Many flocked to anti-Duggar corners of the internet as soon as the family became famous,

Many more joined the conversation after it was revealed that Josh had molested five young girls - four of whom were his sisters - but experienced no consequences.

When his parents were made aware of the attacks, they decided to handle it "in house" e.g. cover it up.

Josh Duggar Security Camera Image

And as Jim Bob's empire finally came tumbling down this month, tens of thousands more spoke out against this family and the culture that enabled them to get away with so much for so long.

Este told Jezebel:

“It’s interesting [because] people come to [r/DuggarsSnark] to read about the gossip and goings on."

Joshua Duggar Picture

"But they end up learning about the cult itself, the patriarchal structure, the abuse, the secrets, the harm, the reality that is the Duggar family.” 

With any luck, the imprisonment of Josh was just the beginning of the Duggar downfall.

Communites like r/DuggarSnark will hopefully continue to expose the abuse and hypocrisy that defines life in far too many religious separatist communities.

Josh and Anna Throwback

If there's any silver lining to the dark cloud of the Duggar abuse network, it's that it's prompted good people to find one another.

Together, they are carrying out difficult, but important work.

Show Comments
Tags: , ,