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Screaming STOP THE ABUSE Found on the netSandra On October - 17 - 2009

Most people know about Genie or at least have learned about her briefly in school. She was found in the early 70s at age thirteen, having spent most of her life in almost total isolation. I made this video using parts of actual footage of her as she progressed, and my point is really to try to bring attention to what a tragedy her life was. Not only was she severely abused by her family, but after making progress with her doctors and therapists she was returned to her mother to live in the same house she’d been abused in. After her mother realized she couldn’t care for her, Genie was placed in foster care and group homes, where she regressed. Worst of all, her mother faught to make sure that the doctors and therapists that cared so deeply for her (and who had become like parents to her) were not able to see her anymore.
The song I used is Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees”, which may seem out of place, but bear with me: Genie had an obsession with collecting anything plastic. She loved playing with and organizing plastic objects. I know the song isn’t really about that, but every time I hear it I think about her and the comfort she got from her plastic collections.
This is a story I think everyone needs to know about, not just because she taught us about development and language but because we were unable to save her from further abuse. For more information, read “Genie: A Scientific Tragedy” by Russ Rymer, which is the most in-depth portrait of her you’ll find.*

I used three separate documentaries to make this video:
-BBC Horizon: Genie
-Nova: Secret of the Wild Child
-TLC: Wild Child


Genie: a Scientific Tragedy (Paperback)

by Russ Rymer


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Permanently strapped to a chair by her deranged father, Genie (a pseudonym) spent her entire childhood in the closed room of a virtually silent house in suburban California. When her nearly blind mother dragged her into a Los Angeles welfare office in 1970, the emaciated teenager could barely speak. Bounced back and forth between foster parents, institutions and her biological mother (her father fatally shot himself in 1970), Genie improved her linguistic skills but ultimately proved unable to master the rudiments of language. Basing this searing, tragic account on an article he wrote for the New Yorker, Rymer tells how linguists and psychologists, eager to test their theories, competed for access to Genie, who now lives in a home for retarded adults, hidden away from researchers by her mother. Rymer suggests that scientists and caretakers treated Genie as a “wild child” instead of giving her supportive therapy that might have enabled her to overcome the confining horrors of her childhood.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This is the true story of Genie, whose mentally unbalanced father tied her to a potty chair and left her alone in her room. Because of this abuse, Genie lacked language and social skills, and she thereby became a pawn in the great debate over language acquisition. Rymer here presents a fascinating look at a child’s abuse and the failure of the scientific community to help her achieve some normalcy. Describing her history and the various tests and studies performed on her, he show how Genie ended up as just another case study. Unfortunately, scientists considered Genie a unique opportunity to study language skills and acquisition rather than a bewildered child who desperately needed help. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.
– Jennifer Langlois, Missouri Western State Coll. Lib., St. Joseph
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (January 12, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060924659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060924652
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon.com Sales Rank: #142,137 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)

    Popular in these categories: (What’s this?)

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    #81 in Books > Parenting & Families > Family Relationships > Child Abuse
    #87 in Books > Health, Mind & Body > Mental Health > Abuse & Self Defense > Sexual Abuse

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OUR MISSION: To educate the public on child abuse signs & symptoms, statistics, intervention, reporting, prevention & assist victims & survivors in locating the proper resources necessary to enable & achieve a full recovery.

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