There has been much acclaim in the news recently about the cyber-attack launched on the infamous cheating site Ashley Madison.com. Specifically, the cyber-attack launched by the Impact Team against the Canadian based company has sparked an international conversation regarding privacy, internet security, and the obligation of companies to secure the identity and financial information of customers. However, the data breach perpetrated by the Impact Team is only just the beginning. Now that the names, email addresses, credit card information and physical addresses of thousands of Ashley Madison users have been released for public review, information is out there, those individuals must now cope with the damage done to their marriages, careers, and other relationships.
Often, issues of adultery are dealt with privately. Even with this shield of privacy, adultery often has a disastrous impact on marriages and families. Due to the very public nature of the Ashley Madison data breach, the world has not only witnessed negative impact of adultery on several marriages, but also how the public revelation of one spouse’s infidelity can compound the devastation. Perhaps one of the best (or worst) examples of how public revelations of adultery can impact an individual’s marriage, family, career and personal relationships is Josh Duggar. Shortly after the information obtained in the Ashley Madison hack was released for public consumption, Josh Duggar, who is best known from his family’s reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, admitted to using the site and cheating on his wife. The very public revelation of Duggar’s use of the site not only led him to publically admit his infidelity and resign from his position at the Family Research Council, but it has also caused Duggar and his family to be the subject of intense social criticism.
Many may have very little compassion for Josh Duggar or others who find themselves in his position. But, it is important to realize that this data breach not only impacts the individuals named, but will also impacts their spouses and families. Heightened divorce rates, job loss, and increased instances of anxiety and depression are just a few of the lasting effects the Ashley Madison hack will have on marriages for years to come.