Duggar family’s ‘cult’ teaches ‘no personal responsibility’ for boys — and girls are blamed for being sexually abused
Former members of the Christian offshoot "cult" that the Duggar family belongs to teaches that boys are not responsible for their actions but girls are entirely responsible not only for their actions but for the actions of boys and men, including being raped by them.
Former reality TV star Josh Duggar, charged with receiving and possessing child pornography, including images of child sexual abuse, is in part a product of his religious upbringing, the former members say.
Fox News reports that "people familiar with the family's particular sect of fundamentalist Christianity, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), claim it has played a role in enabling abuse by Duggar and others."
Among them, Lara Smith, a former member of the Christian fundamentalist sect, who spoke with The New York Post.
"You need to be very careful what you do," girls are taught in Bible study, says Smith, "what you say, what you wear, how you act, because at any moment, you could trigger a boy, basically."
But there is "absolutely no personal responsibility for the boys," Smith added.
The Duggar family is "linked" to the IBLP, Fox News adds. "The many Duggar children were home-schooled using a faith-based program called Advanced Training Institute (ATI), created by IBLP founder Bill Gothard. Gothard even ran the facility that counseled a teenage Josh when he admitted to abusing his sisters. Although Gothard stepped down from IBLP in 2014 after being accused of sexual harassment himself, he continued to work with families, including the Duggars. Gothard has denied the sexual harassment claims against him."
"A lot of abuse occurred," because of the group's teachings, Lara Smith, a former ATI member, told The Post. "With [abusers like] Josh, the whole environment set him up for success in his disgustingness."
"We were taught our bodies don't belong to us. They belong to God. And so in that realm, anything that happens, God wants it to happen," says Smith, who sees ATI and IBLP as a cult.
So does Heather Heath, who was home-schooled and was indoctrinated in the programs.
"If we had been assaulted, we had to confess what we did that brought the assault on us," Heath said. "My sense of bodily autonomy is still really messed up."
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