TLC sets airdate for sex abuse docu prompted by Duggars

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

LOS ANGELES (AP) — TLC network has set an airdate for its new documentary to raise awareness about child sexual abuse.

The film, "Breaking the Silence," will air at 10 p.m. EDT Aug. 30, the network said Thursday.

To be broadcast commercial-free, the documentary aims to shine a light on the challenges faced by those affected by child sexual abuse, as well as raise awareness of where people can turn for help.

An estimated one in 10 children will be the victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18, with an estimated 42 million survivors in America today, the network says.

For the film and related information resources, TLC has teamed with two prominent abuse-prevention organizations, Darkness to Light and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). The film is being produced by NBC News' Peacock Productions.

The film was first announced last month when TLC pulled the plug on its hit series "19 Kids and Counting" after reports surfaced that one of its stars, Josh Duggar, the oldest of the family's 19 children, had fondled four of his sisters and a baby sitter a dozen years before, when he was a teenager.

The documentary is built around the stories of child-abuse survivors. Among them is Erin Merryn, a mother, two-time survivor and driving force behind "Erin's Law," legislation passed in 26 states that makes age-appropriate curriculum on personal body safety mandatory for children in schools.

Also sharing her story is Terrae Lee, who was sexually abused by her father when she was 11 and is now a victim's advocate, having co-founded the Young Survivor's Foundation.

And it includes the story of 11-year-old Kaelin, a survivor who is already channeling her experience into public speaking and education.

Viewers will also hear from experts, including a prevention training session conducted by Darkness to Light that is attended by Jill and Jessa, two of the Duggar sisters who have publicly spoken of being molested in their youth by their brother Josh. He has never been arrested or charged in connection with the molestations.

"We look forward to working with TLC on this upcoming special documentary and hope that it is an encouragement to many," the Duggar family said in a statement when the program was first announced.