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(Possible Child Sexual Abuse Content) Josh and Anna 34: Plea Deal in the Making?


Coconut Flan

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Continued from here:

The court case continues.  John resides with the Rebers.  Anna's doings remain somewhat speculative. 

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Interesting. I guess it comes down to how you read the account.   I don’t interpret it as “Brenda knew.”  I interpret it as “Brenda suspected.”  She  was angry and yelled and then Toby claimed it was all lies and Brenda accepted that.  She continued suspicious, but as Jessica tells it, her mother didn’t know for sure.  Yes, it was denial, and yes she should have left.  I just read Jessica’s account to say that her mother didn’t know for sure about the sexual abuse until at 23 Jessica wrote it all down.

I guess we are saying the same thing. Brenda didn't know, because she didn't want to know. She didn't press Jessica for details after the child "nodded uncertainly" to some questions.. . about what?

But 9-year old Jessica clearly told her mother SOMETHING. She "nodded uncertainly" to her mother's questions. Her mother's questions weren't about the lunch menu. They were about sexual abuse. 

At 23, bolder and more confident, Jessica forced the issue. Brenda pretended she hadn't pretty-much-known all along. Her "outrage" at that point doesn't impress me. If you want to be seen as a good mother, and you are given a FOURTEEN-page letter about the "worst" of the abuse, you have to be outraged after you read it. "Oh, my gosh, really?"

Fourteen pages. That alone is unbelievable.

We have no evidence that Toby physically abused his wife and Josh didn't. Toby looks more like an abuser, it is true, but abusers don't always wear black hats and twirly mustaches. You can't assume Brenda was abused simply to make her decisions more palatable.

On some level, though, it doesn't matter. When you bring children into the world, who depend on you for protection, you don't have the luxury of remaining silent when an evildoer is harming them.

 

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1 hour ago, Jackie3 said:

… We have no evidence that Toby physically abused his wife and Josh didn't. Toby looks more like an abuser, it is true, but abusers don't always wear black hats and twirly mustaches. You can't assume Brenda was abused simply to make her decisions more palatable.  …

As I have already said, I hold Brenda responsible for not having protected her children and I hold Anna to the same standard.  

I don’t know if Brenda was physically abused, but I know that the kids were, that Jessica describes her father as becoming “more dangerous” after her mother confronted him with his suspicions, and that in the last year, when Jessica was trying to get out and had forced the sexual abuse out into the open, Toby “began consistently threatening my mom with the lives of the entire family.” (Source:  https://www.jessicawillisfisher.com

There seems to have been a greater level of threats and physical abuse in the Willis family than we have heard in relation to Josh’s relationship with Anna. I would like to believe there is less violence in the Duggar family, but can’t know for sure.

 None of the above gives  Brenda “a pass” nor should it be reason to be harder on Anna.  Fear of physical abuse is only one of several ways in which malignant narcissists can terrorize their families. 

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5 hours ago, Jackie3 said:

We have no evidence that Toby physically abused his wife and Josh didn't. Toby looks more like an abuser, it is true, but abusers don't always wear black hats and twirly mustaches. You can't assume Brenda was abused simply to make her decisions more palatable.

 

If a guy would rape his own daughters, I don't know why spousal abuse would be a bridge too far.

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3 hours ago, Anna Bolinas said:

If a guy would rape his own daughters, I don't know why spousal abuse would be a bridge too far.

Agreed! He's certainly capable of it. 

Another thing about Brenda. She didn't just fail to protect her daughters. She continued to have children with Toby. She left her younger kids with him, alone, when she went off to gigs with the older kids.

Even if she felt she couldn't leave Toby, she could have done something. Bought her girls a bedroom lock. Sat outside their bedroom door in the evenings. Listened to them when they asked for help.

I was just looking at their old show. There she is, on the sidelines, laughing as someone onstage says she is a supermom. Chatting happily with Toby. Coming onstage so the audience can applaud her.

She doesn't look like someone in a terrible situation. Doesn't even look unhappy. 

Anna, on the other hand, seems desperately unhappy.

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I think it’s very hard to know if Anna ‘seems unhappy’. 
While most of us couldn’t countenance a life like hers, she’s embraced it. Even after Josh’s forced departure from FRC, the only thing she’s expressed unhappiness about is the fact that her family wasn’t featured regularly on Counting On. 
I’m sure she’s unhappy that her plan to be Michelle v2 has been thwarted and that her husband has been busted while she’s pregnant with her 7th child but prior to that she was cultivating a very public image of her family. Other siblings have shown that just because your name is Duggar you don’t have to be all over social media. 

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1 hour ago, Jackie3 said:

Anna, on the other hand, seems desperately unhappy.

Yeah.  But only since Josh lost his job in DC.  Before that she seemed to be thriving.

I don’t know much about Brenda except that, according to her daughter, Brenda was suffering and terrified of her husband just as the abused girls were.  I believe the girls looked happy too.  My guess is that there was a lot of compartmentalizing of reality in that family.  

Back to Anna, I don’t think she recognizes any threat to her children. I think her obvious unhappiness comes from all the things that have gone wrong in her life thanks to Josh’s “problems.”  She may be angry at him and yet feel that she is wrong to feel angry at him. She may not have energy to think beyond the problems that she has been forced to confront. She is not going to look further.

 

 

 

 

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I guess the consensus is that it's understandable that Brenda stayed, because it's assumed Toby was violent and she was too scared. And it's understandable that Anna could go because it's assumed Josh is not.

I'd counter that the Willis girls were being raped. The M girls are thought to be unharmed.

So the opposite could be true--Brenda should've hightailed out of there as soon as she even had a tiny suspicion. Her babies were being violently assaulted. . . how often, we don't know, but remember those 14 pages of "the worst abuse".

Anna, otoh, can safely stay (she and her kids aren't in physical danger), and can easily continue to believe and live the fundy lifestyle. She'll have an unhappy life, imo, but she can be satisfied that she is toeing the fundy line and "setting a good example about marital fidelity" for her kids.

I'd also question the assumption that Josh didn't harm his family. A man that can look at a baby being t*rtured. . . can do anything. His chubby, mild-mannered, smug demeanor doesn't mean anything. Abusers don't wear signs around their neck. 

Regarding Toby. . . an abusive man doesn't necessarily commit every type of abuse. Even these low-lifes have lines they won't cross. Plenty of physically abusive men do nothing wrong sexually, for example. It's not like they all come out of a box, exactly the same.

However, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Brenda was afraid of him. But when you have children, you lose the right to put your own fears above their need for protection. I'm mean, everyone puts their own needs first sometimes. But good moms don't get to say, "I'll push away those suspicions that Jessica is being raped, because the status quo is more comfortable and leaving is scary."

That's just never OK. Saying otherwise just minimizes the impact of sexual assault.

11 hours ago, Idlewild said:

I think it’s very hard to know if Anna ‘seems unhappy’. 

Most of the time I question it, too, when commenters say, "I think this fundy is miserable" or "This fundy loves the lifestyle. . . " But in this case, it seems unhappiness is inevitable

  • Her husband has been arrested and faces jail time (and falsely accused, she believes!)
  • She has no source of income (it can't be easy to take money from the inlaws)
  • Her husband molested his sisters
  • Her husband tried to cheat on her (maybe he did, I can't remember)
  • She is always postpartum or pregnant when she learns these things, turning a happy time into a miserable confusing one
  • They live in a nasty warehouse
  • Her future income is uncertain and she is no position to earn a decent living, meaning she faces a future of depending on others
  • she has no time to figure out what to do, with the clamour of six little kids around her
  • she knows the whole world pities her, both the fundy world and the secular one. it's even in the news!

How could she be anything but unhappy in this case? If she is happy, then I want to know the brand of her anti-depressants. They are working really well.

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I don’t think Anna had any trouble taking money from her in laws - She signed up for the Duggar circus. Apart from his brief spell at FRC, Josh sold used cars and was pretty lazy. 

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1 hour ago, Idlewild said:

I don’t think Anna had any trouble taking money from her in laws - She signed up for the Duggar circus. Apart from his brief spell at FRC, Josh sold used cars and was pretty lazy. 

Anna grew up in a family where money seemed to be scarce. In her original bio she mentioned her dad left a decent paying job to support his brood to be a full time missionary in prison. During this time her family depended on deputation from the church, friends and family. I'm not sure of how scarce the money was, but it sounds like to me, that Esther, Daniel, and Rebekah were all married and/or moved out. Marrying into the Duggar circus meant that she and the Kellers (through guest appearances on 19KaC) would have access to money that they haven't had in a long time. At the end of the day, I do believe that the Duggars having money either through books or TV shows is why Anna was married off to Josh in the first place.

15 hours ago, Jackie3 said:

Anna, on the other hand, seems desperately unhappy.

Anna's unhappiness is, probably, due to the fact that she won't be Michelle Duggar 2.0. If Josh goes to jail and receives the twenty year sentence, then this child, most likely, will be her last. Stopping at seven children was not part of her plan. Deep down I do think Anna does believe Josh is guilty, but she won't admit it. I do think she and Josh are going to try and "squeak" number eight in if he is found guilty before he goes to jail. He managed to get his court date moved to right before/after the baby's due date and I wouldn't doubt it they are going to try for #8 during his trial. 

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19 hours ago, Anna Bolinas said:

If a guy would rape his own daughters, I don't know why spousal abuse would be a bridge too far.

I went to a seminar at work one time on how to recognize domestic violence victims and give them resources to assist. It was very shocking to me to learn at how victims of spousal abuse deny that the abuse happening to them is wrong. If Brenda suffered abuse, I hope she is getting the right help and support. 

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5 hours ago, NancyDrewFan1989 said:

Anna's unhappiness is, probably, due to the fact that she won't be Michelle Duggar 2.0. If Josh goes to jail and receives the twenty year sentence, then this child, most likely, will be her last. Stopping at seven children was not part of her plan. Deep down I do think Anna does believe Josh is guilty, but she won't admit it. I do think she and Josh are going to try and "squeak" number eight in if he is found guilty before he goes to jail. He managed to get his court date moved to right before/after the baby's due date and I wouldn't doubt it they are going to try for #8 during his trial. 

Re the bolded:  I don’t doubt that Josh will want to have sex with Anna as soon as it is okay after the baby is born, but I don’t think he cares whether there is a number 8, and even Anna might have second thoughts about getting pregnant again at this point. (I suppose an exception might be if TLC offers her a reality show, “Praying for Josh Behind Bars” where she can be a martyr with 7 kids and one more coming. ☹️

Seriously, I think it is very likely that Anna has not yet fully processed that Josh is almost certainly guilty and very likely will go to jail.  Even if she strongly suspects that Josh was indeed watching porn, she may not be able to distinguish between CSA porn and regular porn— I mean, from her perspective it is all a sin.  Does she understand how disgusting Josh’s interest in CSA is, and why this interest makes him a danger to children? 

She comes from a community/culture where when a teenager or adult is aroused by the sight of a naked or half-naked baby, the “fault” is at least partly that of whoever let the baby be seen naked or half-naked, not the male who is inappropriately aroused.  In that community, little girls who are careless and show their undies could be accused of “defrauding” the men around them.  Probably as a child it was ingrained in her how men may be led into sinful thoughts by females. It is never the man’s fault alone.  

Josh is at fault for watching porn, but she may reason that the real problem is that there are people out there who produce porn.  It may be difficult for Anna to get around to the realization that to produce CSA porn, unwilling children have to be victimized and that in viewing such porn Josh becomes complicit.  She may be able to tell herself that while viewing porn is sinful, at least Josh didn’t directly hurt anyone. (Note: this is not my perspective.  I am hypothesizing Anna may see it this way.)

We find it difficult to imagine that Anna doesn’t “get” the important difference between CSA and “regular” porn, but she is not very bright and she has a lot to lose emotionally by confronting the truth.  I think she unconsciously makes her mind turn away from the idea that the exploited children in CSA videos are children in the same age range and with the same feelings as hers.  Calling it “denial,” may be too simple.

In short, I think Anna is not only unhappy, but probably very confused. It is going to take a while for her to process what is going on in her life right now. I don’t think she is likely to divorce Josh unless, after he’s been in prison a few years, she realizes what he is and how he ruined their lives together and how she can help herself and the kids by divorcing him.  I don’t think she is ready now, and she may never be.

(Note: I am trying to understand what may go on inside Anna’s mind, not excuse her in any way.  I can feel sorry for her and still hold her responsible for how her choices affect her children.)

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I think someone may have answered this already, but I'm old and forget stuff. Will the videos Josh was watching be shown in open court? If the videos are not shown, will graphic descriptions be given? That might be what pushes Anna over the edge. If she has to sit in the courtroom and see/hear the videos/descriptions and hear the prosecutor say over and over that Josh has or is about to have children of the same ages as the children in the video, Anna may get a clue. 

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18 hours ago, Smee said:

But I do know that statistically, everyone on this board likely knows a woman who is silently living in fear of her partner, and holding them responsible for not leaving doesn’t do anything to change the behaviour of men or the systems that enable them.

Very true. All of us know children who are living in fear too, of nightly visits from men like Toby. Children who don't have credit cards or the ability to check into a hotel!

Personally, I don't believe in infantilizing women like Brenda, by saying they "can't" leave. That assumes they are powerless. Many women have left and made a new life for their families, so I know how wrong it is to pretend the Brendas of the world are powerless. That just enable their behavior and their learned helplessness. 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Smee said:

But I do know that statistically, everyone on this board likely knows a woman who is silently living in fear of her partner, and holding them responsible for not leaving doesn’t do anything to change the behaviour of men or the systems that enable them.

 

I disagree. Holding them responsible would do EVERYTHING to fix the problem. 

If Brenda Willis had been charged for failure to report, all the other women (and men) who are looking away and denying  the crimes in their homes might become scared. They might overcome their fear (they dont' want to go to jail, after all) and start asking questions and protecting their kids. 

If there'd been coverage of Brenda in prison garb, punished for looking away, then other enabling moms and dads might start paying more attention.

If Anna Duggar is ignoring something terrible, then I hope she is charged, too. That might get all the fundie moms in denial to sit up straight and start acting when their kids "nod uncertainly."

Anyhow, why shouldn't they be held responsible? These women aren't children. They aren't helpless. Giving them a pass hurts their kids, the ones we are trying to protect. 

(Failure to report a felony is a crime throughout the United States. There's no exception for being a scared mom)

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2 hours ago, Jackie3 said:

If Brenda Willis had been charged for failure to report, all the other women (and men) who are looking away and denying  the crimes in their homes might become scared. They might overcome their fear (they dont' want to go to jail, after all) and start asking questions and protecting their kids. 

I think that is  punishing the victim for being a victim.  There are so many nuances to domestic abuse, it is hard to paint them all with 'it's the victim's fault if she doesn't report it'.  Too much black and white thinking.   Leaving and reporting literally gets people killed.  Most people do the best they can to survive. 

I always felt, before anything came out, that Brenda was being abused.   She told the horror story of her 11th child's birth - I don't remember all the details, but she was in the hospital close to death for a long time, and yet was pregnant again almost immediatly - the two are 12 months apart -  because "Toby always wanted 12 kids".  I thought that was horrific.  

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1 hour ago, Smee said:

Because holding them responsible allows us to pretend that it’s the fault of individual victims, not the society that creates and enables perpetrators. It allows us to pretend that there is a victim “type” (there isn’t - strong, independent women of all races, education levels and economic backgrounds fall victim to domestic abuse) who is lacking something, and therefore it could never happen to us. It’s easier to place blame on the woman for not leaving than to reckon with the failures of culture and society and the justice system that allow men to behave like this time and time again.

 I can not love this post more.  That is exactly right.  Thank you for saying what I don't have the words to say.  

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One thing I have never been able to fathom: What is it in a person, that, when he/she sees a baby, toddler, child, whatever... partially dressed or completely naked, that makes that person thing that they must have that child sexually? How does that work?

 

I mean, I know it happens and I know how it happens logistically. But for the perp, how does it happen mentally, because to me it makes no sense whatsoever!

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8 hours ago, SweetLaurel said:

I think that is  punishing the victim for being a victim. 

We don't even know she was a victim. It's supposition, to make her decisions seem more palatable.

Honestly, she seems pretty happy in the Willis Clan videos and performances. Laughing, clapping, accepting compliments for being a great mom. If you look at her facebook now, she seems equally happy (though you can't always tell by facebook). No mention of the trauma her daughters experienced, or how she's helping them recover. She's nothing like Elizabeth Smart, for example, who regularly talks about her trauma and how she's helping others.

However, even assuming it's all an act, being a victim doesn't mean you get to commit crimes scot-free. She looked away while felonies were committed in her home. That is a crime. It is a felony to rape a child. That's why Toby is going away for 40 years. When you know (or should have known) that a felony is happening, you are guilty too.

Truth is, most criminals are victims themselves. An extraordinarily high percentage were victims of child abuse. Most have been victims of some type of societal disadvantage (social, economic, etc). Yet they are still held accountable for their actions.

Patty Hearst was an obvious victim -- kidnapped, abused. Yet when she committed bank robbery with the group that had kidnapped her, she went to jail.

Would you be equally willing to give Anna Duggar a pass, if it turns out she's turned a blind eye? I wouldn't. 

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14 hours ago, EmCatlyn said:

Re the bolded:  I don’t doubt that Josh will want to have sex with Anna as soon as it is okay after the baby is born, but I don’t think he cares whether there is a number 8, and even Anna might have second thoughts about getting pregnant again at this point. (I suppose an exception might be if TLC offers her a reality show, “Praying for Josh Behind Bars” where she can be a martyr with 7 kids and one more coming. ☹️

Seriously, I think it is very likely that Anna has not yet fully processed that Josh is almost certainly guilty and very likely will go to jail.  Even if she strongly suspects that Josh was indeed watching porn, she may not be able to distinguish between CSA porn and regular porn— I mean, from her perspective it is all a sin.  Does she understand how disgusting Josh’s interest in CSA is, and why this interest makes him a danger to children? 

She comes from a community/culture where when a teenager or adult is aroused by the sight of a naked or half-naked baby, the “fault” is at least partly that of whoever let the baby be seen naked or half-naked, not the male who is inappropriately aroused.  In that community, little girls who are careless and show their undies could be accused of “defrauding” the men around them.  Probably as a child it was ingrained in her how men may be led into sinful thoughts by females. It is never the man’s fault alone.  

Josh is at fault for watching porn, but she may reason that the real problem is that there are people out there who produce porn.  It may be difficult for Anna to get around to the realization that to produce CSA porn, unwilling children have to be victimized and that in viewing such porn Josh becomes complicit.  She may be able to tell herself that while viewing porn is sinful, at least Josh didn’t directly hurt anyone. (Note: this is not my perspective.  I am hypothesizing Anna may see it this way.)

We find it difficult to imagine that Anna doesn’t “get” the important difference between CSA and “regular” porn, but she is not very bright and she has a lot to lose emotionally by confronting the truth.  I think she unconsciously makes her mind turn away from the idea that the exploited children in CSA videos are children in the same age range and with the same feelings as hers.  Calling it “denial,” may be too simple.

In short, I think Anna is not only unhappy, but probably very confused. It is going to take a while for her to process what is going on in her life right now. I don’t think she is likely to divorce Josh unless, after he’s been in prison a few years, she realizes what he is and how he ruined their lives together and how she can help herself and the kids by divorcing him.  I don’t think she is ready now, and she may never be.

(Note: I am trying to understand what may go on inside Anna’s mind, not excuse her in any way.  I can feel sorry for her and still hold her responsible for how her choices affect her children.)

This is what makes this whole situation baffling. Unfortunately, a trial can be lengthy and time consuming. Knowing Anna she is going to want to continue popping out as many blessings as possible. Josh did manage to get his trial delayed. The worst thing Josh could do to Anna is get her pregnant with number eight, maybe nine, during the trial if he is allowed to be out on parole. Denial is a strong thing and I can see Anna viewing the trial delays as a sign from God and Jesus that she should continue to bear more children with Josh. Considering Josh, most likely, would want to have sex with Anna and the fact that the cult shuns birth control, I really wouldn't be surprised if she ends up pregnant with at least number eight before Josh goes to jail. Which is really sad because I really hope this doesn't happen. 

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Reading the news today and found this article about Brits who’ve experienced “the knock,” when the cops come to arrest a family member who’s been viewing CSA. Many of the women are completely shocked and left without support. Granted, this is from the UK, but I’ve not heard of any type of family support from social services regarding this issues in the US, either.

For your reading pleasure: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/jul/31/the-knock-that-tears-families-apart-they-were-at-the-door-telling-me-he-had-accessed-indecent-images-of-children

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It’s not The Knock that tears family apart, it’s the despicable family member who was into child porn. Yes, the families are going through hell. This hell wasn’t brought upon by the police. 

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2 hours ago, Jackie3 said:

Patty Hearst was an obvious victim -- kidnapped, abused. Yet when she committed bank robbery with the group that had kidnapped her, she went to jail.

Would you be equally willing to give Anna Duggar a pass, if it turns out she's turned a blind eye? I wouldn't.

 That was almost 50 years ago and back then, if women fought back to their abusers, they were prosectuted harshly.  Unfortunatly, they mostly still are and  I gather you might agree with it.   They think they have one option - staying safe and alive and trying to keep their kids as safe as they can in the circumstances they are in -  I read that you are saying  their only other option is taking the chance of leaving and being killed.  No excuse for not taking the chance of leaving their kids alone with the abuser every other week alone, or two weekends a month or whatever.  No reason not to be living in their car and getting their kids taken away period.   

This is my huge thing with fundie wives. Everyone says 'leave' but with a half dozen kids and no skills?  As I've said repeatedly, I'm on a bunch of widow groups and there are many women who have been SAHW for decades and when he died, are suddenly homeless, helpless and on the street.  They are working in convenience stores and gas stations and trying to feed themselves and finding housing they can afford.  Leaving is not as simple as Leaving.  

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