Jessa and Jill on Josh Duggar Molestation Scandal: 'We've All Forgiven, We've All Moved On'
By Meredith B. Kile
Two of Josh Duggar’s sisters and victims spoke out for the first time Friday night, sitting down with Fox News host Megyn Kelly to discuss their molestation at the hands of their older brother and the media backlash against the 19 Kids and Counting family.
"I see it as a revictimization," Jill said of the media attention surrounding the scandal. "I see it as a thousand times worse. Because this is something that was already dealt with."
The sisters said that they chose to speak about a story that they claimed has been "warped" by the media.
"Everything was distorted," Jill told Kelly. "We felt like our story was not being told and we felt like it shouldn’t have been told. So now that it’s already been warped and told however they want to portray, that’s why Jessa and I wanted to come out and just say that’s not what happened. We’ve dealt with this, we’ve taken care of it."
The girls reiterated Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s statements to Kelly on Wednesday that Josh touched them inappropriately while they were sleeping and they only learned of the molestation when he confessed and their parents told them.
"I look back and I think you know, my parents did such an amazing job," Jill said of how Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar handled their eldest son’s repeated confessions of inappropriately touching four of his younger sisters and a family babysitter. "Even when we went through the DHS [Department of Human Services] investigation, they complimented my parents, on what an amazing job they did through that process and so I think not only taking the legal action that they did and then going the extra mile."
Jessa says the DHS investigation of the family concluded that the home was "a safe place for children" and claims that family and friends around the Duggars knew what had transpired but the family never worried about it coming out, even when they became famous worldwide for the TLC reality show that followed their mega-family.
"We’ve all forgiven, we’ve all moved on," Jessa insisted. "These past two weeks have been a thousand times worse for us."
Jessa and Jill told Kelly that they never really felt like victims because they were unaware of their brother’s actions. The sisters said that they feel more victimized by the media scandal surrounding In Touch magazine’s publication of the police reports against their brother.
"I can say that what was done was very wrong," Jessa explained. "The terrible thing about being a victim is that you’re helpless in the moment over the actions of others. And I feel like, in this situation, we’re again helpless."
"I called my husband [Derick Dillard] and I was in tears," Jill said of learning that In Touch magazine was releasing the police reports detailing her brother’s abuse, breaking down again as she told the story. "I couldn’t believe what was going on. When I heard the police reports were being released and I said 'They don’t have a right to do this, we’re victims, they can’t do this to us.'"
The girls told Kelly they believed treatment and counseling helped their brother, whom they describe as a "completely changed person" who is "never again going to go down that path." Jessa even went so far as to defend Josh against opponents who criticized his career as a political lobbyist who campaigned for the conservative Family Research Council.
"It’s right to say 'here’s my beliefs, here’s my values', even if you’ve made stupid mistakes or had failures in your past," she told Kelly. "It doesn’t mean you can’t be changed."
As far as the future of their TLC show goes, Jill said that the family has always "had the mindset of the show is just a window of opportunity that God’s allowed our family to be on television."
"Life goes on, really," Jessa added, echoing the sentiment her parents expressed to Kelly on Wednesday. "We’re not a TV family, we’re a family that happened to be on TV."