Jill Duggar has just released a memoir titled Counting the Cost (affiliate link) about her tumultuous childhood, where she experienced sexual, religious, and financial abuse as she grew up on television. In an excerpt from the book shared with People, Jill accuses her father of treating her “worse than my pedophile brother.”
What did Jim Bob do to Jill?
In the heartbreaking excerpt, Jill describes a moderated meeting with her parents after she had written them a letter describing her feelings about them.
Michelle told Jill that she had hurt them, and Jill tried to apologize while still explaining how she felt. That’s when Jim Bob interrupted her.
He was upset because Jill had also sent him a text message accusing him of verbal abuse. When she didn’t apologize, he got more angry.
“‘You’re not going to apologize? Really?’
His voice was loud, and there was an edge to it that I’d rarely heard. The moderator looked pale and was stuck on mute. Derick tensed, and I could feel him getting ready to step in. I squeezed his hand, hoping he’d get the message.”
When Jill burst into tears, her father told her that she was crying because she felt guilty.
That’s when Jill tried her best to explain to her father why she was hurt and crying, by comparing how he treats her to how he treats her “pedophile brother” Josh.
“‘You want to know why I’m crying?’ My voice was cracked, my eyes burning,” Jill wrote. “‘It’s that you think I’m some kind of horrible person just because I wear pants and have a nose ring, and yet you see that girl outside and praise her. That’s why I’m crying, Daddy. I’m evolving and changing, just like that girl out there, but you can’t see it. You treat me like I’m a prodigal who’s turned her back on you. You treat me worse than you treat my pedophile brother.'”
By “that girl out there,” Jill was referring to a young woman who recognized Jim Bob outside. He had been friendly with her instead of judgmental, which is how Jill wanted him to treat her.
While the family’s shows on TLC relied on their children, the kids weren’t financially compensated by their parents, even when they became adults and started sharing their weddings and children on the show.
Jill and Derrick have stated in the past that they did not get paid anything until 2017, and only got some compensation after they hired attorneys.
Jill was coerced right before her wedding to sign papers that she didn’t read at the time because it was such a hectic moment.
2014 wedding to Derick Dillard were filmed for TLC, back before 19 Kids & Counting had been canceled, later becoming Counting On. But moments before she was to walk down the aisle, when things were hectic, Jim Bob asked her to sign something in the family’s kitchen.
On the docuseries Shiny, Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets. (affiliate link) Jill revealed that she had unknowingly agreed to be on the show for five more years at that time.
“I just saw the signature page. It was like on the end of the kitchen table, like, ‘Hey, I just needed you guys to sign these,'” Jill said. “We were literally running through the kitchen, and it was like whoever you could grab on the way through. I didn’t know what it was for.”
She didn’t understand what she had signed until she was forced to return to the U.S. to film for the show while she and Derrick were living and working in El Salvador.
They sent the papers proving that she was obligated to film for the show. At first, she thought someone had forged her signature, but soon realized that she had, indeed, signed away her life in the flurry before her wedding.
Pressure to uphold the Duggar brand
Even though Jill and her siblings weren’t getting financially compensated for selling their lives to the public, they were still expected to uphold the brand and save the powerful reality machine from going under when the world learned about how some of the girls had been abused.
After the world learned about the disgusting things Josh Duggar did to his sisters, Jim Bob and Michelle pressured Jill and Jessa to do a televised interview with Megyn Kelly in order to save their reality show and paint their brother in a better light.
Jill now has regrets about that interview.
“In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done the Megyn Kelly stuff. I felt like I was in a place again of bearing the burden and the weight of (my family). Even though you volunteer, it’s like you feel obligated to help,” she says in the series Shiny, Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets. (affiliate link)
Derrick compared the interview to Jill being called to complete a “suicide mission” in an effort to save the family.
Jill’s book Counting the Cost (affiliate link) is out now and available to download on Kindle right away.