Back in December of 2021, Josh Duggar was convicted on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.
He would later be sentenced to 151 months in prison.
It was unquestionably the most shocking scandal in the history of reality television, and the situation was made all the more appalling by the fact that it could have been prevented.
Years before his arrest and imprisonment, Josh molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters.
Jill Duggar was one of those victims, and in her new book, she opens up about the trauma she endured as a result of Josh’s assaults.
She says old wounds were re-opened when the crimes were first made public, and Josh’s police file was shared with a tabloid as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.
Jill says she was “sickened” by the publicity and was unable to eat or sleep in the weeks that followed.
When husband Derick Dillard called to ask how she was doing one night, Jill gave a response that shocked him:
“Terrible… I wish I were dead,” she said, according to her new book.
Though revisiting her past for the sake of her memoir was not an easy process, Jill says she feels it was important to share her story for the possibility that doing so might benefit other survivors.
And it seems that to her surprise, she benefitted from the difficult journey as well.
“It’s helped us process and disentangle our feelings,” Jill told Fox News this week.
“It’s been a cathartic process… This is not an isolated experience, just for reality TV or for large families… I hope people can relate to it and say, ‘I felt that too. I felt the isolation that breeds from control.’”
In the book, which she cowrote with husband Derick Dillard, Jill says she never got paid for her time as a reality star, and yet, her father’s quest for fame completely robbed her of her privacy.
“It was like The Truman Show. It was hard to live day to day and have a camera in my face. And for some of my siblings, it’s all they’ve ever known,” she wrote.
“As I got to know the film crew, they became like family, but there were moments that were robbed from me, the private ones,” she continued.
“Like when I had my wisdom teeth out. It was a very vulnerable time for me as a teenager when I was put on display because they needed a moment, a dramatic moment.
“And anytime we were crying or emotionally distraught, the film crew was there because they knew it made great TV.”
Jill says she grew up feeling that she would be dishonoring her parents if she refused to film the most painful and private moments of her life.
“If somebody busts their head open, it’s like, ‘This is great TV,’” she wrote.
“But at that moment, I just felt, ‘This is what I have to do. I have to honor my parents. I have to fall in line here.’ I didn’t really have a choice and I did not like it, but at the same time, I felt this is what I had to do to be a good daughter, to be a good Christian,” she continued.
“I had to fulfill this role. But I wished I had more privacy. It’s still a struggle I face with.”
Yes, Jill was told that the family reality shows were part of her father’s mission to spread the gospel and refusal to participate would be a sin.
The cameras didn’t stop rolling after the molestation scandal went public, as Jill and sister Jessa Duggar were forced to go on TV to defend Josh.
It might have been the greatest indignity she was forced to endure at her father’s insistence, but it certainly wasn’t the only one.