Michelle Duggar’s Hypocrisy Regarding Sexual Predators

Members of the Duggar family with Bill Gothard at one of Gothard’s IBLP programs, “Journey to the Heart,” where children are taught to “identify blind spots or secret sins that are keeping them from completely surrendering to God.”

By Shaney Lee, HARO Board Member

The Duggars have made the news again—but this time, it’s not because of another pregnancy, engagement, or wedding.

This time, family matriarch Michelle Duggar has made the news for a robocall made to citizens of Fayetteville, Arkansas, warning them about a new bill being considered by the city. The bill “protect citizens against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic background, marital status, or veteran status,” according to the website ThinkProgress. Michelle’s concerns (or at least, the concerns of the Arkansas Family Council as expressed by Michelle) have to do with granting trans women access to public accommodations for females, such as restrooms and changing areas.

In the robocall, Michelle Duggar urges Fayetteville citizens to vote against the bill so that “men,” particularly “males with past child predator convictions” would not have a legal right to enter spaces designated for “women and children.” (Despite her effort, the bill passed in the early morning hours on Wednesday, 6-2.)

Much has already been written about the transphobic nature of Michelle’s call. While that in and of itself is concerning (especially since the attitude Michelle is promoting is the exact attitude behind the high rates of violence towards trans* individuals), there’s another aspect to this that major media outlets have failed to pick up.

To put it bluntly, Michelle Duggar is a hypocrite.

She supposedly cares about keeping women and children safe from sexual predators, yet her family continues to be associated with a known sexual predator: Bill Gothard.

Nearly every ad on the right hand side of the Duggar Family's website is to one of Bill Gothard's programs.

Nearly every ad on the right hand side of the Duggar Family’s website is to one of Bill Gothard’s programs.

The Duggars have long been huge supporters of Bill Gothard and his ministry, Institute of Basic Life Principles. They have long used ATI curriculum in their homeschool and promoted it on their website. Their website currently has links to Advanced Training Institute, Oak Brook College of Law (another organization started by Bill Gothard), and has prominent advertisements for the ALERT academy (again, another organization related to IBLP and started by Bill Gothard). Gothard’s Advanced Seminar Textbook was influential in the Duggars’ decision to not use birth control. Photos on the official Duggar family website include an album from an ATI conference in 2010, including a picture of Jim Bob with Bill Gothard himself. Jim Bob and Michelle are listed as IBLP conference speakers for this year.

Bill Gothard resigned from IBLP and all its affiliates back in March of this year when over 30 women accused him of sexual harassment. The stories of some of these women are well-documented on the website Recovering Grace. And yet, in the face of overwhelming evidence showing Gothard to be a sexual predator, the Duggars have said nothing. In fact, they continue to profit from promoting ATI and IBLP.

(The Duggars have also been connected with sexual predator Doug Phillips of Vision Forum. They have similarly been silent about him, though all links to Vision Forum seem to be scrubbed from their website.)

In addition to showing a lack of personal integrity, Michelle’s call reinforces that common misconception that sexual predators are strangers. This is simply not the case–particularly when it comes to children. In the majority of sexual assault and abuse cases, the perpetrator was someone the victim knew. While this does not make sexual assault by strangers “rare” by any means, the narrative surrounding who sexual predators are and how they operate allow people respected by the community and in leadership positions to continue to sexually abuse people for years before anyone will speak up.

Source: http://www.duggarfamily.com/

Jim Bob Duggar and Bill Gothard at an ATI conference. Source: http://www.duggarfamily.com/

It allows people like Bill Gothard to get away with their abuse.

Michelle Duggar is more than willing to throw trans* people, who are no more likely to be sexual predators than anyone else, under the bus, while refusing to do the uncomfortable work of publicly denouncing a known predator whom she has supported and promoted for years.

Furthermore, trans* people are actually more like to be the victims of sexual assault or physical violence:

  • “Most studies reveal that approximately 50% of transgender people experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.” (Source)
  • “People who identify as transgender were 28% more likely to experience physical violence than those who are gender normative.” (Source)

This is unacceptable. If the Duggars want to have any credibility in speaking out against sexual predators, they must sever all ties with IBLP and publicly speak out against Gothard, as well as apologize for contributing to the bigoted attitudes that put trans* people at risk.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #DuggarHypocrisy.


  • This completely ignores the fact that convicted sexual offenders are already prohibited from being around children.

  • You are conflating several separate and unrelated issues here. It is entirely possible to have a problem with a person who is still biologically a man entering, urinating and defecating in an intimate space intended for women and children, while at the same time acknowledging that Bill Gothard is a sexual predator and trans people are more likely to be sexually abused and no more likely to be abusers than the general population. I’m not threatened by or worried about trans people in general, and i don’t think they are going to molest anyone in the restroom, I just don’t believe that a biological male has any right using a public restroom intended for biological women and young children. You will likely find that the vast majority of people share this view, and you insisting that we have any other motive for believing this way, such as believing that trans people are all molesters, is just ludicrous.

    • Yet you make no mention of intersex individuals.

    • You are absolutely correct. Those of us who are intersexed should stop using the restroom immediately because nobody’s going to make a restroom for intersexed people, and we just shouldn’t use bathrooms since we will be predators regardless of which restroom we use. I have news for you. Female shit smells just as bad as male shit. There is no difference.

    • Why are you most threatened by people like me, when we are at our most vulnerable? Do you not realize that “those people” (me) use bathrooms for exactly the same reasons you do? Not for any other reason. We want to get in, do our business (going to the bathroom) and get out. That is *all* “we” do in there

    • I agree. On a side note, Michelle Duggar was speaking of those who may abuse the use of restrooms by the physically opposite sex such as a non-transgender man trying to use a women’s restroom not that [transgender women]* themselves are the threat.

      * HA note: Comment modified, see Comment Policy #4.

      • I honestly don’t think that the Duggars distinguish between the two. I seriously doubt that they recognize transgender women as anything other than “weird men;” they strike me as the kind of people to label anyone in the LGBT community as a potential predator because the identity in itself is a kind of “deviance” in their minds, so it seems reasonable to them to assume that said “deviance” would extend to pedophilia and sexual assault. At least, that’s how I interpret their views.

        Anyway, even if the worry specifically concerns male predators abusing the policy, it’s still ridiculous. Do they honestly think that a sign marked “Male” or “Female” stops someone who truly intends harm? It doesn’t. What, exactly, would change other than accommodating transgendered and intersexed individuals? Nothing. It’s still weird to stare, it’s still wrong to touch people without their say-so, and it’s still the establishment’s right and responsibility to throw out those who abuse the facilities.

    • Beleaguered Transgender Woman

      So where should a transgender woman go to the bathroom? Should we use the men’s room to assuage your vague and thinly reasoned feelings on the matter? Because that would actually pose a risk of sexual violence to someone. What could it possibly matter if a woman who you would never know was trans unless she told you sitting in a stall for a few seconds. For the most part we’re so uncomfortable in their because of bigotry like yours that we get in and out as fast as humanly possible.
      Your kind of thinking really irritates me, it is baseless and serves no purpose other than making the world a harsh place for transgender people and encouraging them to commit suicide to escape societies archaic conservativism, many children choose death rather than endure it still and it breaks my heart.
      Transgender women ARE NOT MEN and should not be discriminated based on the actions of men, particularly imagined actions that don’t ever happen but were created to serve this exact prejudice by Christians who seem to talk about nothing other than gay sex and transgender women. I have less testostorone in my blood than most women and am not capable of using my male parts to rape anything even if I wanted to, which i don’t, because that is essentially a male crime and I ain’t male in any way other than in the mind of conservatives who quite frankly often seem so stupid I’m surprised they remember to breathe.
      I will also say that you’re last statement is only partially correct, we are no more likely to commit a sexual crime than any other woman, and vastly less likely than men, we don’t have any testostorone in our bodies and to make this really clear, WE ARE WOMEN.

  • ” It is entirely possible to have a problem with a person who is still biologically a man entering, urinating and defecating in an intimate space intended for women and children.”

    Women’s toilets are separated by stalls typically and I am pretty sure every person who goes into a public restroom isn’t watching other people defecate or urinate.

    Even at the gym, I’m keeping my eyes on my own business. Lingering your eyes around a dressing room or restroom is typically creepy anyhow no matter your sexual orientation.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I grew up in Sixties California car culture. To me a “tranny” is what fits between the mill and driveshaft of a muscle car.

    “Trans women” (or this current use of “trans”) just Weirds Me Out. PERIOD.

    • You can continue to allow those like me to weird you out, or you can choose to educate yourself, and I agree “tranny” in reference to those like me is incredibly offensive.

    • Beleaguered Transgender Woman

      And people who post mindless, prejudiced drivel on the net make me weep for humanity. I’m glad you’re ‘weirded out’, because you’re an idiot and you should be made to feel uncomfortable, you should be singled out and mocked so that people can see that your point of view is useless in the modern world.

  • What about those of us who are intersexed? should we just not use the bathroom at all because if we do we are pedators? I don’t want to be a predator, so how about I just take a shit in the middle of Michelle’s living room? That whole family is totally fucked up.

  • Rather Annoyed Trans* Guy

    As someone who has been forcibly removed from a womens restroom as a teenager (when I looked enough like a boy, but wasn’t aloud to use the mens restroom because of my parents) I would never want to subject anyone to that type of violence.

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  • Although most Christians have biblical beliefs about transgender- it’s not necessarily those who we are concerned about in bathrooms, showers ext…but those who are predators using that as access to get into opposite sex spaces to take advantage of others. If all I have to do is claim I identify as the opposite sex whose to stop me?

    • Bingo, Karan. This is the bottom line. How sad that others can’t seem to see the forest for the trees.

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