Jill & Jessa Duggar Learn Sexual Abuse Prevention On TLC's 'Breaking The Silence,' & They're Clearly Thinking About Their Own Children
On Sunday, TLC broadcasted its Breaking the Silence documentary, as promised during the fallout from the first Josh Duggar scandal of the year. Back in May, the eldest Duggar son admitted that as a teenager, he molested five underage girls, four of whom were his younger sisters. As a result, he resigned as an executive at the Family Research Center and TLC canceled the widely popular TV show 19 Kids and Counting. The disgraced TV star and his family came back in the spotlight once again after he admitted earlier this month to cheating on his wife via his Ashley Madison account. We've watched the family very publicly fall from America's good graces, but on Sunday, the focus was on them once again — and on victims of sexual abuse at large. During the documentary, Duggar sisters Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald discussed sexual abuse prevention in a seminar aimed at informing them and viewers how to learn more about the issue from a societal level and to gain some tips for using in their own families.
This time around, Jill and Jessa focused on the future, attending a Darkness to Light seminar on how to prevent and identify sexual abuse, particularly among children. They were joined by their mother, Michelle Duggar, who has remained relatively quiet on the family's scandals for her own part.
During the sexual abuse prevention seminar, the sisters took notes and offered their own feedback for preventing potential abusive situations. "I like the idea of just thinking before you're in a situation, like how can I handle this and how can I set up those boundaries ahead of time?" Jill said.
Jill also enjoyed learning from people who have these types of experiences in common with her. "It was amazing to understand that there are so many people that deal with this exact same thing in their own families," she said, "so just being educated is very good."
The seminar is relevant to the sisters not only because of their past experiences, but also because of their current and impending motherhood. Jill has one son, Israel, who was born in April. Jessa, on the other hand, is expecting her first child, due sometime this fall. During the documentary, she explained the impact that the seminar would have on her as she becomes a mother for the first time, saying that the curriculum was teaching her "things I can do to be aware, things I can do set up boundaries, safeguards I can set up for my child — and children, hopefully, in the future."
It was a far different tune this time around than back in June when the sisters were emotional and a bit defensive during a controversial interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly. They admitted that they didn't even know what had happened until their parents had told them. Jessa, in particular, emphasized that the public reaction to the scandal was "so overboard." They blamed the public for blowing things out of proportion and the media for "re-victimization that's even a thousand times worse."
They also tried to explain their brother's actions, saying that they've already forgiven him. "In Josh's case, he was a boy, a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls, and that got him into some trouble, and he made some bad choices," Jessa said.
Ultimately, Jessa and Jill have largely become the public faces of this already-public family's scandal thanks to their appearances on Fox News and TLC's documentary. Unfortunately, their role in the documentary was almost too limited to get a full understanding for how their lives have changed since the recent turmoil and what lessons they've actually taken to heart. Still, it's interesting to know that they're taking a look at the issue through the eyes of new and soon-to-be mothers.