Arkansas condones child abuse? 

If Harrises and Duggars go unpunished, yes.

JUSTIN AND MARSHA HARRIS: With attorney Jennifer Wells (left). - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • JUSTIN AND MARSHA HARRIS: With attorney Jennifer Wells (left).

How is Justin Harris still in the state legislature? How is it that the governor and Republican leaders haven't called for him to resign from office? Or at least press him to take a leave of absence while a transparent investigation takes place? Where are the West Fork citizens demanding his recall?

Because I was sexually abused as a child, the issue strikes close to home.

My abuse happened in a green room, down the stairs in a basement. I was 3 and 4 years old. The teenage sons of the woman who ran the daycare beat me until I took my clothes off. They did the same thing to a little girl about the same age. And they forced us to perform sex acts on one another that we didn't understand as we sobbed. It happened repeatedly for a year.

I don't talk about it much. For one, it does not define me. For another, my mother still does not know. I tried to tell her then but lacked the words to describe what was happening. Mom told the sitter that her sons were "mean" to me, and they beat me harder for tattling on them. Mom still makes jokes about how much I cried every time she dropped me off, but the sitter assured her I was happily playing the moment she left. There is no reason now for my mom to know and carry that weight. It would devastate her.

So I write this piece anonymously. Perhaps cowardly, but I hope not.

I am shocked at the way the political system has failed to hold the Harrises and the Duggars accountable. Republican leaders should be denouncing them, and in Harris' case forcing him from office.

It tells me all I need to know about the modern Republican Party that Mike Huckabee's support for needed and popular tax increases for education, health care and parks will hurt his presidential bid more than his embrace of serial rapists, murderers and child molesters.

It tells me all I need to know about the Democratic Party that it cannot even muster the moral courage to stand against a child abuser in the halls of government. Justin Harris deserves more than a strongly worded press release. Can you imagine what the Republicans would do if the Democrats were coddling a child abuser?

I believe in redemption and penance. I have no ill will toward my abusers, and I believe Justin Harris and the Duggar clan deserve a shot at forgiveness. But my abusers are not running a preschool facility for children, and they are not denouncing gay and lesbian families as child molesters.

Beyond the legislature, how is it that Justin Harris and wife are still licensed to operate a daycare after what has been revealed? How can a sane parent trust their child's care to them?

Before rehoming their daughters to a rapist, the Harrises allegedly abused the daughters in isolation cells and forced exorcisms.

Newsflash for the Harrises: The genius of evil is that people do not need to be possessed. Evil seeps in to the self-righteous. Evil disguises itself as morality. Evil is explained away as youthful indiscretion. People claiming to have exclusive insight into God's mind have committed the worst atrocities in humankind.

Evil does not seep in to 3- and 4- and 5-year-old little girls. That comes from the adults who abuse them. A demon did not possess the little girls entrusted to the Harrises. A demon wasn't responsible for the Harrises' actions. The evil was in the poor judgment and lack of moral clarity in the Harrises themselves. It was their sin and their responsibility, not anyone else's. There is a legal term for the evil the Harrises' performed — it's called child abuse. It led to child rape.

The thing about being a survivor of abuse is it makes you forever question your normalcy and self-value. We learn to cope with it. We learn to heal from it. We even learn to use it as a strength. But it haunts our relationships and us for life. I am still haunted by much of my experience, especially that I failed to protect the little girl with whom I was forced to perform sex acts.

Those little girls entrusted to the Harrises will forever suffer for what was inflicted upon them there. The girls involved in the Duggar case will forever know they were molested and then violated again when adults did nothing.

Justin Harris should be forced from the legislature. He and his wife should lose their licenses to care for children. They should be prosecuted for child abuse and child endangerment. The Duggars should be exposed as child abusers.

That child abusers of any political persuasion should be held accountable used to be an Arkansas value.


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