Jessa (Duggar) Seewald and Jill (Duggar) Dillard have opened up about the sexual abuse they experienced by their brother, Josh Duggar, over 10 years ago.
The sisters appeared on TLC’s documentary “Breaking the Silence” Sunday in hopes of learning more about sexual abuse and its aftermath. The pair, along with their mother Michelle, also participated in a prevention training seminar led by Darkness to Light, a leading abuse prevention organization.
“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,” said Michelle.
Jill, 24, added, “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.”
The Duggar women attended the seminar following the news of their brother’s molestation accusations. In May, it was confirmed that he sexually abused five underage girls (two of whom were his sisters) when he was just a teenager. However, TLC’s documentary did not mention Josh at all. Instead, it focused on survivors of sexual abuse cases and told their stories.
Jessa, 22, who’s pregnant with her first child, had a meaningful takeaway from the event. “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.”
Jessa also said the seminar taught her “things I can do to be more aware, things I can do to set up boundaries and safeguards for my child and children, hopefully, in the future.”
The Duggars were just two of the survivors who shared their stories in the documentary special; another woman, Erin Merryn, was a central figure. Merryn, who was abused by two different men as a child, is aiming to pass Erin’s Law (which requires age-appropriate curriculums on abuse) in all 50 states. Actress Teri Hatcher also spoke out, as did “Dancing with the Stars” pro Cheryl Burke.
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