Sexual Abuse, Shame, Pseudo-Science: The Horrifying Truth About the Duggars' Ministry
Oct 3, 2017 By Tiffany White
Everyone knows that the Duggars are extremely religious, but the strict rules that they follow don't exactly align with mainstream Christianity — instead, they're followers of teachings from the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a non-denominational religious organization. All the kids in the Duggar household (and the Bates) are homeschooled using the ATI curriculum created by IBLP. And sure, you're probably staring at the screen right now thinking, "That's a lot of acronyms. What do they have to do with anything?", but both IBLP and ATI are controversial for many reasons. Its founder, Bill Gothard, was accused of allegedly sexually assaulting more than 30 women back in 2014. And many former members who grew up affiliated with IBLP, much like the Duggars, have spoken out against the organization, accusing it of silencing sexual abuse victims, brainwashing, and, well, being cult-like....
...former members who have since denounced ATI have spoken out about the teachings being weird, archaic, and illogical. According to Gawker, who managed to scan and upload pages out of an ATI workbook, the program teaches such asinine things as "semen causes cancer." According to ATI, God uses cancer and other illnesses as curses on people who don't follow his word, particularly when it comes to casual or premarital sex. However, once a woman has a husband, she's magically "immune" from such diseases.
...Possibly the most upsetting thing about IBLP is how it counsels those who've been sexually abused. According to an actual page from an ATI handout, the institute advises counselors to ask victims, "Why did God let [the abuse] happen?" Some examples of answers to this question are "immodest dress," "indecent exposure," and "being evil with friends." The handout goes on to advise victims to be fortunate of their abuse because they are now more "spiritually powerful." The handout states, "If you had to choose...no physical abuse or more mighty in spirit, which would you choose?"
....But probably the darkest thing about ATI is its founder, Bill. In 2014, Bill was put on administrative leave after several female employees came forward and accused the founder of alleged sexual harassment. No criminal charges were filed. To date, 34 women and two men have accused him of alleged sexual harassment. Although he hasn't been charged, several women have come forward to describe their experiences with Bill. A woman named "Leigh" (her name was changed to protect her identity) revealed in 2015 that, while working for Bill, she was forced to work grueling long hours without pay, while Bill would behave inappropriately with her, like "holding hands, playing footsies, stroking the hair and that type of unwanted physical affection.” Keep in mind, Bill was a man in his 70s and the woman quoted in the article was in her early 20s. She later went on to say that she and Bill visited the Duggars in 2006 and were "holding hands" in full view of the reality TV family who, according to her, said nothing.
According to the lawsuit filed by victims in 2014, Bill would also "select girls based on how they looked and tell them that it was God’s will for them to come work for him."
Bill and IBLP still have close ties to the Duggars. Despite all the allegations of sexual harassment running amok around Bill, that didn't stop the Duggars from throwing their support behind him. In 2012, when Anna Duggar’s sister Priscilla married David Waller, the ATI administrator, Bill was a wedding guest and even gave a 10-minute speech there. The whole thing was filmed for 19 Kids and Counting, but producers conveniently cut him out of the episode. As recently as this year, the Duggars were still attending and making speeches at ATI conferences. The family still hasn't spoken out about Bill's alleged abuses, nor have they responded to any critcs of the organization they're so closely tied to....
Time bar on child abuse payouts lifted
A long-standing time bar which prevented victims of childhood abuse seeking civil legal action has been lifted.
Survivors of abuse which happened after 1964 previously only had a three-year window to pursue damages.
New laws coming into force have now changed that.
Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing said the time bar was "against the interests of justice for those who'd survived abuse".
The three-year limit has been removed by the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill.
The bill was unanimously approved, by a margin of 115 to zero, when MSPs voted in the Scottish Parliament in June.
It allows the time bar to be lifted so long as the victim was a child under the age of 18 when they suffered sexual, physical or emotional abuse....