The story of Jeanie Wiley, a wild girl who spent 13 years in captivity with her fatherBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/the-story-of-jeanie-wiley-a-wild-girl-who-spent-13-years-in-captivity-with-her-father
It is the social environment that teaches us such seemingly primitive things as the ability to express our thoughts, distinguish good from bad, or interact with our own kind. This is where childhood and the path of each of us begin.
However, the sad story that we will tell you is about a man who at one time was deprived of such luxury. Moreover, this case is considered in modern history as the loudest and most shocking example of child abuse.
On November 4, 1970, a woman named Irene Wiley contacted the Department of Social Assistance in Temple City, California. The woman was practically blind in both eyes, and, according to her, her daughter needed medical help. Irene's daughter, who was nearby at that moment, made a truly terrible impression. The girl moved with a strange gait, hardly moving her legs and pressing her hands to her chest, she could not utter a word, and also control salivation — all the child's clothes were soaked with saliva and vomit.
The child, apparently, hardly realized where he was, showing fear and aggression with all his appearance. The girl hissed and spat every time someone tried to touch her. She looked like she could have been six or seven years old, but her mother said that in April of this year her daughter turned thirteen.
The strange couple did not have any documents, and the woman answered any incoming questions evasively, getting confused in her own testimony. Almost immediately, an employee of the department contacted the Los Angeles County police. On the same day, the story of a 13-year-old savage woman received worldwide publicity.
The girl's real name remains unknown. Scientists and doctors who later worked with the unfortunate woman gave her the name Genie — the girl was compared to a genie from a bottle who suddenly appeared among people after passing the first 13 years of her life.
Wiley Jeanie was born to Dorothy Irene Oglesby and Clark Gray Wiley, she was the fourth child. Two older children in this family died under sad circumstances. The first child, in fact, became the first victim of abuse by the father of the family. The baby irritated his father by crying, while Wiley could not stand the noise. Wiley ended up locking the baby in a drawer in the garage for a long time. After that, the firstborn of the Wiley family died of pneumonia.
Their second child also died in infancy, choking on his own saliva. Clark Wiley has always been a hot-tempered and violent man, not devoid of oddities. However, after the death of his elderly mother in a car accident, the atmosphere in Wiley's house changed. Distraught, Clark did not allow his household to speak even in a low voice. His wife Irene and son John communicated with each other only in whispers.
There was no TV or radio in the house, in order to avoid extraneous noise. Often, the father of the family took out evil on his son, not being shy of physical abuse. Soon the boy ran away from home. Since then, he has never returned to his hometown. Despite the events unfolding in the Wiley family, none of their neighbors suspected that in addition to John, Irene and Clark had another child growing up. That was Jeanie.
She was born on April 18, 1957. Gini grew up a healthy girl, during the first year of her life she was examined several times by a pediatrician. However, at some point, the doctor suggested that Jeanie was probably showing symptoms of delayed development. After learning about this, Clark Wiley decided to protect his daughter from communicating with her mother and brother by resorting to intimidating methods.
The father locked the girl in a room on the second floor of his house. During the day, he tied her to a high chair so that Jeanie could not get up and move around the room. At night, Clark locked her in a makeshift aviary made of wire like a dog cage. At the same time, Wiley communicated with the girl, not using human speech, but imitating dog barking and growling. If Jeanie tried to scream or somehow raise her voice, her father severely beat her.
In such conditions, the girl spent more than 10 years — not seeing any of the people, except for the mad father, not learning to speak, not seeing sunlight. She was not toilet trained, could not chew solid food or use cutlery— all this time Wiley fed his daughter only liquid infant formula.
Apparently, the father hoped that his daughter, whom he considered mentally retarded, would not live long in such conditions and would stop burdening the family. He forbade his wife Irene, who suffered from cataracts in both eyes and practically did not leave the house, to do anything. However, Clark promised his wife to let her take her daughter to the doctor upon reaching the age of 12. Wiley did not fulfill his promise, and a year later, when Jeanie turned thirteen, Irene took her daughter and still left her husband.
After the police were called, a whole police squad was sent to Wiley's house. Sergeant Frank Linley, who participated in the operation, recalls:
After the police visit, both parents were charged with child abuse. Upon learning of this, Clark Uyali committed suicide, leaving a suicide note consisting of one phrase: "The world will never understand." Jeanie's release from home confinement was followed by a long period of rehabilitation.
Gini's story caused such a resonance in society that the government funded a large staff of doctors and scientists who are ready to integrate the girl into society. Jeanie suffered from vision problems — she could not focus her eyes at a distance exceeding the perimeter of her room.
The girl also had problems with the musculoskeletal system, digestion, bite and, of course, speech skills. Doctors were never able to establish whether Jeanie was really mentally retarded — encephalograms indicated brain dysfunction, but it was impossible to determine whether it was congenital. At the time of placement under the supervision of doctors, the intelligence of thirteen-year-old Gini corresponded to the level of mental development of a one-year-old child. However, soon the girl began to show good results in training. She mastered a few words, but, what is especially terrible, Jeanie's first words were "enough" and "don't."
Later, Jeanie learned to express herself in simple phrases, but without combining words into sentences using conjunctions and other official parts of speech. And despite the fact that Jeanie never mastered the grammar of the English language, a few years after her imprisonment, she was able to go to a school for children with disabilities. Teachers characterized Jeanie as a sociable and curious girl, who is fluent in nonverbal communication -in a fairly short time she learned sign language.
Meanwhile, there were many conflicts in the circle of scientists involved in Gini's research. Some experts literally fought for the opportunity to study with the girl, others accused the former of wanting to become famous and profit from this story. Several people left the project as a result of friction. But, anyway, in 1975, when Jeanie turned 18, the research was stopped, and the American National Institute of Mental Health stopped funding the project.
Initially, the custody of Jeanie was issued by psychologist David Rigler, but around the same time when the funding was discontinued, his family refused custody. Then Jeanie managed to live in several foster homes, but during this time her condition managed to noticeably regress.
As a result, Gini was placed in a special institution for people with disabilities, the location of which was not disclosed. Interestingly, soon Jeanie's mother, Irene Wiley, filed a petition for custody of her daughter, but, of course, received a decisive refusal.
Today, according to rumors, Gini lives in a specialized private institution in California. She is more than 60 years old, she does not need anything, but she has never managed to master English — Jeanie communicates mainly with gestures.
Jeanie's brother, John, became a house painter. He got married, he had a daughter Pamela, whose life did not exactly work out: she struggles with addiction to banned substances. Pamela has two children; she was prosecuted for leaving them in danger. In 2008, John gave an interview to ABC News, where he recalled his childhood:
In 2011, he died due to diabetes. His mother, Irene, died back in 2003.
Several films have been made about Gini, books have been written. Using the example of her terrible story, scientists have made the most important conclusions for understanding the development of personality: basic communication and socialization skills should be instilled in a child in early childhood, otherwise it will be extremely difficult to catch up.