This past week, Jessica Kirkland made a Facebook post that went viral.
She wrote a “letter” last week as an unfiltered reaction to the news of Josh Duggar’s infidelity and ties to the Ashley Madison website.
The letter showed sympathy for Anna, Josh’s wife, but also annoyance with her understanding that young women are not being properly taught to live independently. Kirkland found herself worried about Anna’s future. Not being able to divorce and with absolutely no work experience, she appeared to be trapped in her marriage.
Daniel Keller, Anna’s brother, has also expressed concern for his sister. He revealed to US Magazine:
“I told her I would go get her and her children stay with me. She said she’s staying where she’s at. But I won’t stop trying to get that pig out of our family.”
It was the same day that Josh’s confession was released, August 20th, that Kirkland made the viral post.
With everybody sharing their opinions on Josh’s mistakes, the Duggars wanted the chance to pipe in with their own thoughts. The official Duggar family website made a statement which said:
“We are so thankful for the outpouring of love, care and prayers for our family during this most difficult situation with Josh. As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear. Yesterday Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center. For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change. In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future. During this time we continue to look to God—He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family.”
But even words from the Duggar’s themselves didn’t garner the same interest as Kirkland’s honest testimony. Prior to posting the letter, she had some doubts about whether or not to share her feelings. She told a local Atlanta outlet:
“I had a moment thinking, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t post it. Being from Georgia, I have a lot of friends and family members who are devout Christians.”
She also interviewed with CNN. Kirkland, mother of two (girls, aged 6 and 2), told them:
“I banged it out in two minutes on my couch. I closed my laptop and went to bed. And it wasn’t so much as a calculated effort to go viral, certainly. It was just something that I was thinking about and it needed to get out, and I needed to say it. And it came out in a fury. I feel for her. I feel like she’s living in an environment where she can’t do that… I feel heartbroken for a woman who feels like she doesn’t have the option to do anything else.”
Since the post was made neither Josh nor Anna have updated their personal social media profiles. However, the letter has received almost 250,000 shares and over 450,000 likes. It has inspired memes and caused countless debates.
To read the entire post* by Jessica Kirkland, read below.
The issue with Kirkland’s post and the countless comments on the Duggar family, is that nobody can truly understand the situation except for those involved. Perhaps walking away, regardless of religious beliefs, isn’t an option for Anna because of their children. Josh Duggar and Anna have four adorable children together, Mackynzie (5), Michael (4), Marcus (2) and Meredith (1 month). I hope for the sake of their entire family that they can find some peace, clarity and direction in this tough time.
While I’m all for breathing fire and teaching women to stand on their own two feet, I think women also need to be taught understanding, compassion and tolerance.
*”I know everybody is laughing about this Josh Duggar story. Oh, a DUGGAR on Ashley Madison, it’s so rich! I wish more people would talk about Anna. I normally keep things light on Facebook, but let’s talk about Anna. Let me tell you: Anna Duggar is in the worst position she could possibly be in right now. Anna Duggar was crippled by her parents by receiving no education, having no work experience (or life experience, for that matter) and then was shackled to this loser because his family was famous in their religious circle. Anna Duggar was taught that her sole purpose in life, the most meaningful thing she could do, was to be chaste and proper, a devout wife, and a mother. Anna Duggar did that! Anna Duggar followed the rules that were imposed on her from the get-go and this is what she got in reward- a husband who she found out, in the span of six months, not only molested his own sisters, but was unfaithful to her in the most humiliating way possible. While she was fulfilling her “duty” of providing him with four children and raising them. She lived up to the standard that men set for her of being chaste and Godly and in return, the man who demanded this of her sought women who were the opposite. “Be this,” they told her. She was. It wasn’t enough.
What is Anna Duggar supposed to do? She can’t divorce because the religious environment she was brought up would blame her and ostracize her for it. Even if she would risk that, she has no education and no work experience to fall back on, so how does she support her kids? From where could she summon the ability to turn her back on everything she ever held to be sacred and safe? Her beliefs, the very thing she would turn to for comfort in this kind of crisis, are the VERY REASON she is in this predicament in the first place. How can she reconcile this? Her parents have utterly, utterly failed her. Think of this: somewhere, Anna Duggar is sitting in prayer, praying not for the strength to get out and stand on her own, but for the strength to stand by this man she is unfortunately married to. To lower herself so that he may rise up on her back.
As a mother of daughters, this makes me ill. Parents, WE MUST DO BETTER BY OUR DAUGHTERS. Boys, men, are born with power. Girls have to command it for themselves. They aren’t given it. They assume it and take it. But you have to teach them to do it, that they can do it. We HAVE to teach our daughters that they are not beholden to men like this. That they don’t have to marry a man their father deems ‘acceptable’ and then stay married to that man long, long after he proved himself UNACCEPTABLE. Educate them. Empower them. Give them the tools they need to survive, on their own if they must. Josh Duggar should be cowering in fear of Anna Duggar right now. Cowering. He isn’t, but he should be. He should be quaking in fear that the house might fall down around them if he’s in the same room as she. Please, instill your daughters with the resolve to make a man cower if he must. To say “I don’t deserve this, and my children don’t deserve this.” I wish someone had ever, just once, told Anna she was capable of this. That she knew she is. As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.” – Jessica Kirkland