Jessa (Duggar) Seewald and Jill (Duggar) Dillard appeared on TLC’s documentary Breaking the Silence Sunday, seeking education to address the aftermath of the abuse they faced at the hands of brother Josh Duggar more than a decade ago.
The Duggar sisters’ mother Michelle also participated in the sexual abuse prevention training seminar given by Darkness to Light, one of the nation’s leading organizations for abuse prevention, in the wake of confirmation this past May that Josh, now 27, molested five underage girls when he was still a teenager. (His two sisters came forward as two of the victims during a conversation with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly in early June.)
“I was so glad that my girls and I were able to do this together and that we could just be a support and encouragement to each other to be able to gain more information about this important topic,” said Michelle, 48.
“It’s amazing to understand that there are so many people that deal with this exact same thing in their own families,” said Jill, 24. “So just being educated is very good.”
Jessa, 22, noted, “I feel like this should be a discussion people are having, even regularly. I think that it shouldn’t be a taboo subject, that we should be bringing awareness to child sexual abuse and talking about this.”
The seminar was especially meaningful for Jessa, who is expecting her first child on Nov. 1, and she said she learned “things I can do to be more aware, things I can do to set up boundaries and safeguards for my child and children, hopefully, in the future.”
RELATED VIDEO: TLC’s Documentary Breaking the Silence Gives Voice to Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse
During the one-hour special, the Duggar sisters were just two of the survivors of all ages, male and female, who shared their stories of childhood sexual molestation. Chief among these was two-time victim Erin Merryn, who is fighting to end abuse with Erin’s Law legislation, which requires sexual abuse prevention education in public schools and has already been passed in 26 states.
Testimony by Teri Hatcher was featured, and Dancing with the Stars pro Cheryl Burke also shared her experience with abuse, saying, “I’m only human and sometimes the stuff I’ve gone through, I think about all the time, and it just brings me back.”
Breaking the Silence teamed up TLC with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and Darkness to Light (D2L) a nonprofit organization that works to empower people to prevent child sexual abuse and will share the stories of survivors of sexual abuse.