If you know anything about the Duggars, you know that they have very, very strict rules regarding male-female relationships.
Virtually all forms of physical contact between the sexes are prohibited before marriage, and divorce is considered the ultimate taboo. So you can imagine the surprise of many within this insular community at this week’s revelation.
Jessica Seewald has filed for divorce after just two years of marriage!
Jessica, of course, is the rebellious sister-in-law of Jessa Duggar. The sister of Jessa’s husband, Ben Seewald, Jessica comes from a family that’s every bit as conservative as the Duggars. So to hear that Jessica is filing for divorce is every bit as surprising as it would be to hear that about Jessa herself!
But according to a new report from UK tabloid The Sun, Jessica has decided to end her marriage to Dwight Philip Lester. That is a big risk, in terms of her relationship with her family. Doing so means running the risk of being disowned by her evangelical parents.
The outlet reports that Jessica filed for divorce on May 21. The cause of her decision is currently unknown.
Many fans fear the worst. It’s been widely assumed that the situation must have been pretty ugly – after all, it’s not like this happens every day in their circles.
The reasoning it simple. It would have to be a bad situation if it prompted Jessica to take such decisive action so soon after tying the knot, right?
But others were congratulatory in their comments. After all, at this point, there’s no reason to believe that the relationship was abusive. And Jessica has a long history of disregarding the norms and customs that her family holds so dear.
Those same norms and customs have been used to oppress generations of evangelical women. It’s not surprising that many view the filing as a strike against the patriarchy and a victory for feminism. Or, you know, close enough when we’re talking about hardcore evangelicals.
“Good for her! I really wonder what the Seewalds and Jessa/Ben think about this,” one Duggar critic wrote on Reddit.
“Good for her. I applaud anyone who can admit that their marriage isn’t working and has the good sense to run for the hills,” another added.
“I hope the reason wasn’t anything too awful and her family is supportive of her through this. Wonder how Jessa and Ben feel….” a third chimed in.
Obviously, we’re all hoping that Jessica and Dwight merely grew apart. But when the Duggars are involved, it’s natural to assume that something scandalous has occurred.
That infamous family is no stranger to twisted, toxic scandals. It was an episode that centered around Jessica’s search for the perfect bridal gown.
While fans certainly didn’t expect that her marriage would come to an end so soon after the episode aired, they’ve been surprisingly supportive in their response. These days, of course, the Duggars are embroiled in yet another scandal.
This time, it is as a result of Josh Duggar’s arrest on child ponography charges. We are all deeply disgusted by this situation. So anyone who chooses to distance themselves from the family or stand up against Jim Bob’s misogyny is likely to be applauded.
It’s a shame that it took such a horrific situation as the latest Josh controversy to call attention to the Duggars appalling treatment of women.
But we suppose it’s better for this awareness to arrive late than not at all.
Jessica, of course, is more private than most members of the extended Duggar clan, so we may never find out what exactly what led her to file for divorce.
We can hope, however, that the situation was minimally painful for everyone involved.