Speaking her truth. Amy King (née Duggar) has gotten candid about what it was like growing up as the niece of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, revealing that she felt “fearful” of them at times.

In an interview with Insider published on Tuesday, July 11, Amy, 36, spoke about Jim Bob and Michelle’s 19 children — her cousins — being raised under the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a non-denominational Christian ministry. Among the IBLP’s controversial teachings was the idea of spanking a child as a form of “encouragement.” Amy was asked if she feared for her safety during visits to the Duggar compound because Jim Bob, 57, and Michelle, 56, allegedly used this tactic on their children.

“Yes, there were times that I was fearful,” Amy responded. “It’s interesting — I’ve never heard my aunt [Michelle] yell, not one time in her entire life have I ever heard her yell. But the reflection of her voice, and how calm and sweet she is with that whole tone, it doesn’t match the experience of what could have been taking place.”

Amy has spoken out against Jim Bob, his disgraced son Josh Duggar and the IBLP many times in recent years. She, along with cousin Jill Dillard (née Duggar) and Jill’s husband, Derick Dillard, appeared in Amazon Prime Video’s Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets documentary on June 2. In the four-part series, Jill, 32, Derick, 34, and Amy went in-depth on Jim Bob and Michelle’s alleged abuse. They touched on the IBLP’s “blanket training,” a controversial parenting method where a child as young as six months old is placed on a blanket with something they want just out of reach. Whenever the child reaches for the object, they are hit. 

“The idea is that you’re breaking the rebellious spirit they are born with,” a former member of the IBLP explained in the doc.

Amy said that it was Michelle who referred to the training as “encouragement.”

“They literally said, ‘You need to come into the room, and we need to give you some encouragement,’” she explained. “But it was in the sweetest tone ever, like, ‘Do you need encouragement? I think you need encouragement.’”

The docuseries also explored Jim Bob’s control over his children, especially when it came to the family’s TLC shows 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, as well as Josh’s child molestation scandal.

Following the doc’s release, Jim Bob and Michelle shared a statement of disapproval. 

“The recent ‘documentary’ that talks about our family is sad because in it we see the media and those with ill intentions hurting people we love. Like other families, ours too has experienced the joys and heartbreaks of life, just in a very public format,” the couple wrote on their website. “This ‘documentary’ paints so much and so many in a derogatory and sensationalized way because sadly that’s the direction of entertainment these days.”

Speaking to Insider, Amy admitted she wished her uncle and aunt would have “mentioned the survivors” in their statement. 

“This is their time to reflect and acknowledge their pain and they didn’t,” she said, adding that she would have liked for the couple to acknowledge “the people that had their spirits broken.”

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