Last week I talked about the 2% of rape accusations that turn out to be false. It’s a number that enrages me because I know every person who cries rape will be accused of making a false accusation. But what happens when the victim isn’t even aware that they were assaulted? What happens if they only find out years later?

Big in the news right now is the revelation of Josh Duggar and the sexual assaults he committed. The news and Duggar calls it “molestation” but let’s call a duck a duck. Touching someone without their consent is sexual assault no matter how he may pretty it up. What bothers me about this whole incident is there’s no discussion about the victims and what they went through. The entire focus is on Duggar, who’s never had to pay for his crimes, and the tribulations he’s going through. Read through the comments. There’s some sickeningly sweet Christian hand clapping and back patting going on in support of Duggar.

Yet no one asks what are the consequences of his actions. Let me tell you from first hand experience..

When I was about 21 or 22, I had a friend that I was very close to (I’ll call her Anna). We’d spent our teen years as inseparable as twins, often sharing confidences when we slept at one another’s home. Anna had a cousin I found a little creepy. He was one of those people who often blurt inappropriate things or did things that he thought was a joke but caused harm. No, he wasn’t harmful in a big way, just little things; singeing someone’s hair or causing public humiliation. He wasn’t someone I liked to be around and let Anna know. She put herself between us and I ignored him.

Years later, her cousin confessed that he’d fondled me while I slept. He justified it by saying that he only touched my boobs. When Anna saw me getting murderously angry, she tried to shift the blame away from him by saying it was my fault for having large breasts (I was a DD cup by then). I stared at my best friend in disbelief and hurt while her cousin searched for the nearest exit. I left the room, afraid of what I might do to her cousin at that point. Jail was not out of the question.

That incident has never left me. So much so that to this day it’s difficult to share my bed with anyone. This is such a huge step of trust for me that it has ended several relationships over it. I’m afraid to sleep. In that moment between awake and asleep, I wonder if someone’s going to come and violate me. I already have REM Behaviour disorder which causes problems sleeping this just adds to the issue. These are things that don’t go away.

He’s never paid for what he did, either. While I’ve never seen or heard from him since that day, the memory of his revelation stays with me. It’s bad enough when you’re sexually assaulted and you feel powerless to protect yourself, it’s another to know you were sexually assaulted and never had a chance to protect yourself. Sleep is the one time you’re supposed to be safe, inviolate. Yet that was taken away from me and Duggar’s victims.

Duggar can paint all the pretty words he likes. He can dress himself in sackcloth and ashes and whip himself till he bleeds in the town square. It means nothing. Apologies mean nothing. Words mean nothing. He’s done nothing to atone for his actions and there is no evidence except his words, which we’ve seen mean nothing to him, that he’s no longer engaging in sexual assaults. If he’s truly sorry for what he’s done then let him stand in front of a judge. Let his victims face him and let him see the damage he’s done.

All Duggar has right now is words. They’re pretty and contrite words but they’re words. All his victims have are scars. They’re not pretty but I’ll bet they’re full of shame and regret.

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