Jessa, Jill, Michelle Duggar Explore Prevention of Sexual Abuse in TLC Special ‘Breaking the Silence’
Jessa (Duggar) Seewald and Jill (Duggar) Dillard appeared on a commercial-free TLC special on Sunday Aug. 30 entitled “Breaking the Silence” in search of an education on molestation along with their mother, Michelle Duggar. Jessa and Jill were two of the five women who were found to be victims of sexual abuse at the hands of their brother Josh Duggar over a decade ago.
The women, who were featured in only a minuscule portion of the hour-long broadcast, participated in an abuse prevention training seminar led by Darkness to Light, the nation’s leading organization in child sexual abuse prevention.
Michelle told viewers, “I was so glad that my girls and I were able to do this together and that we could just be a support and encouragement to each other to be able to gain more information about this important topic.”
Jill expressed relief in finding solidarity with others who underwent similar experiences.
“It’s amazing to understand that there are so many people that deal with this exact same thing in their own families. So just being educated is very good.”
Jessa, who is pregnant with her first child, noted that the topic deserves widespread discussion. “I feel like this should be a discussion people are having, even regularly, she said. “I think that it shouldn’t be a taboo subject, that we should be bringing awareness to child sexual abuse and talking about this.” She also took away lessons on “boundaries and safeguards” to teach to her children as she transitions into motherhood.
Jezebel notes that TLC’s special failed to mention Josh by name throughout the entire broadcast, putting the network’s accountability over the scandal and their necessity for such a special into question.
The Duggar family announced that Josh entered a long-term treatment center after it was exposed that he cheated on his wife by way of the Ashley Madison website scandal.
Other figures featured in the documentary included actress Teri Hatcher, Dancing with the Stars’ Cheryl Burke, and Erin Merryn, the force behind Erin’s Law, which would require age-appropriate curriculums on abuse in school districts.