To the world, she’s Genie; a name given to protect her true identity. Since Genie was only 20 months old, her life was filled with terror and pain. She endured the pain for years, all alone in a cold and dark room. Her story is considered to be one of the most cruel instances of social isolation in American history. Throughout history, there have been several cases of “feral children“, who have been deprived of social interaction from an early age. In the 1970’s, Genie’s shocking story came to light. Her abusive father raised her in extreme isolation and when she was finally freed, she was uncivilized, barely able to talk or walk and was still wearing diapers at the age of 14. Here’s the tragic story of Genie, a feral child who was raised by a sadistic father in complete isolation.
Born in 1957 in Arcadia, California, Genie lived the first 10 years of her life chained to a potty chair.
When Genie was only 20 months old, her father believed that she was showing signs of severe mental underdevelopment. Her father, Clark Wiley, took matters into his own hands and isolated her in a dark bedroom. She was surrounded by chicken-wire and and attached to a potty chair that had a homemade strapping contraption. The room was located at the back of the house. Her father used aluminum foil to cover the only window, limiting the amount of natural light she received during daytime.
For thirteen years, Genie spent her nights locked in a bed that was surrounded by chicken wire and her days, strapped to a potty chair.
For nearly 13 years, Genie suffered at the hands of her sadistic father. Her vicious father decided that Genie should never be spoken to, and so her mother, who was half blind with cataracts, obeyed him. He also carried a gun around the house and placed it on his lap as a form of intimidation.
Genie underwent abnormal sleeping patterns and was fed very little to no food.
Genie’s abusive father blamed everyone for the pain he had endured throughout his life. After his mother was killed in a hit and run accident, he turned his back on the world. He often fed her baby food and occasionally liquids which was insufficient for a child’s development. Whenever Clark went outside late at night, Genie’s mother took the opportunity to feed her; causing her to develop abnormal sleeping patterns.
The abuse wasn’t discovered until Genie was thirteen years old.
On November 4, 1970, Genie’s mother saw a window of opportunity to seek public assistance in Temple City, California. When a social worker met with the family, Genie’s appearance and condition unveiled a tale of sinister secrets. After the social worker saw Genie, he believed that she was only six-years-old and autistic. When he discovered her real age, he immediately understood that the family was mistreating the child and decided to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Genie’s brother described the house as a concentration camp.
When authorities searched the house, they were shocked to see the room Genie was confined in for thirteen years. Her brother explained that their abusive father enforced strict laws and forbid anyone from even making a single peep inside the house. Even the neighbors who lived next to the Wiley house for thirteen years never knew about Genie.
Genie was immediately taken into protective custody and her father was arrested for child abuse and neglect. She weighed only 59 lbs and had the physical development of an eight-year-old. Although Genie’s mother was also arrested and charged, she blamed the father and explained that she was also a victim of abuse.