It’s been more than two years since In Touch exclusively revealed that Josh Duggar was found guilty of forcibly fondling his younger sisters when both he and his victims were underage. Since then, the Duggar family and their ultra-conservative religion have been under intense scrunity by the public, who has criticized many of the more confusing — and often dangerous — facets of the group. And now, redditors have found another element of their group that sheds light on the problematic religion.
Duggar enthusiasts have found a document purportedly put out by ATI — the super-strict, religious homeschooling program followed by the Duggars — that explains what action should be taken to “counsel” victims of sexual abuse. In it, the pamphlet asks, “Why did God let it happen?” It goes on to explain that sexual abuse could be the result of “defrauding” by immodest dress, indecent exposure, being out from protection of our parents, and being with evil friends.” Another facet asks victims to choose between “no physical abuse” and “mighty in spirit.”
In light of all the shocking advice outlined in the pamphlet, followers of the Duggars took to the comments to express outrage about how the abuse is handled in community. “Honestly, I think it’s a good reminder to have this posted. It’s easy to get caught up in the weddings and the pregnancies and Jinger’s pants,” one commenter wrote. “It’s easy to forget that these people are put of a deeply misogynistic cult, that believe it’s womens’ fault if they get raped, and they have no purpose or meaning whatsoever other than being sex slaves for their husbands, having babies, and working inside the home.”
In another commenter, one redditor argued that — with this information — Josh’s horrific crimes are put slightly more into context (though the commenter makes it clear that they are “in no way defending the vile a–hole). He/she wrote, “Things like this make it a little easier to understand why Josh did what he did. This disgusting cult actually failed both the sisters and Josh. It was inexcusable what he did and his sisters were failed 1000000000000 times more than this he was because they became victims of assault, let me make that clear. But sexual curiosity it a natural part of puberty. This ATI nonsense completely suppressed that, and unlike most teenage boys, he was given zero outlet to explore his curiosity in a harmless way.”
This isn’t the first time it’s been revealed that ATI — the homeschooling program that the Duggars follow — made for a troubling situation in terms of abuse. In another reddit post, a former student explained his/her experience with the group, detailing the abuse he/she experienced at the hands of his/her father and how the nature of a homeschool environment allowed it to flourish.
He/she wrote, “Throughout my childhood, my father and sisters abused me sexually. Since the cult taught a strict familial hierarchy, with the father being top dog, then mother, then children in order of birth, as the youngest I was bottom of the totem pole… Because ATI is a homeschool cult, it was really handy to cover up the abuse from prying eyes.”