Former Runaways bassist Jackie Fuchs has responded to the outpouring of support and outrage that’s followed from a Huffington Post story in which she says she was raped by producer Kim Fowley in front of her bandmates. Joan Jett and Cherie Currie have disputed her account; Fuchs wrote in a Facebook note, “All of us have been passive bystanders at some point in our lives.”
I have been so incredibly moved over the last few days by the outpouring of love and support that has followed the story of my rape on New Year’s Eve 1975.
When I contacted the Huffington Post at the beginning of the year, I never imagined my story would touch such a nerve. I wondered whether anyone would even read it, or if they did, whether they would care. The response took me completely by surprise.
This was not an easy story for me to tell. I had to go over the details of the worst night of my life, not once but repeatedly. The writer of the piece, Jason Cherkis, and the Huffington Post’s fact checker handled the questioning with great sensitivity; but in the wake of the Rolling Stone rape-reporting fiasco and the well-known past disagreements among members of the Runaways, they were leaving nothing to chance. They asked for my SAT scores, my school transcripts, contact info for the lawyer I spoke to last year. My family and I opened our homes and our files, without reservation. We gave Jason a glimpse into some of our most private moments, as well as some of our deepest – though thoroughly underserved — shame.
She also responded to Jett and Currie’s assertions that they would never have stood by and let a rape occur in front of them—Jett wrote, in part, “Anyone who truly knows me understands that if I was aware of a friend or bandmate being violated, I would not stand by while it happened,” while Currie wrote that she is being “accused of a crime,” and plans to take a polygraph test. The day before, Currie also said she would’ve physically intervened: “All I can say is if Joan, Sandy and I saw an unconscious girl being brutally raped in front of us, we would have hit him over the head with a chair.”
Fuchs responded with compassion, saying her rape was traumatic for the band as well, and reminding the public not to point fingers at anyone who isn’t Fowley:
I know some people watching the online drama unfold have been discouraged by the lack of support I’ve received from my former bandmates. To which I can only say that I hope you never have to walk in their shoes. My rape was traumatic for everyone, not just me, and everyone deals with trauma in their own way and time. It took exceptional courage for many of the witnesses to talk frankly about how they felt. Most have apologized to me for their inaction that night — apologies that have been unnecessary, though welcome.
My rape also left scars on Victory and the other people who only experienced indirectly what happened that night. It can’t have been easy to listen to the way the band treated me after I left (treatment I was mercifully unaware of at the time). All I can say about what was said and done is that my bandmates were children who’d witnessed something criminal and tragic. I’ve no doubt they were dealing with it as best they were able. They had no responsible adults to guide them – only a rapist and his apologists.
That said, Fuchs adds, she wishes her bandmates wouldn’t claim they would’ve intervened:
If I am disappointed in one thing, it is that the story has become about who knew what when and who did or didn’t do what. That isn’t the story at all. It would be nice if everyone who was there the night I was raped could talk about how it has affected them over the years. But if they don’t want to talk it about, I respect that. It’s taken me years to talk about it without shame. I can only imagine what it must have been like to have watched it happen.
I only wish that if my bandmates can’t remember what happened that night – or if they just remember it differently –they would stick simply to saying that. By asserting that if they’d witnessed my rape, they’d have done something about it, they perpetuate the very myth I was trying to dispel when I decided to tell my story. Being a passive bystander is not a “crime.” All of us have been passive bystanders at some point in our lives.
If we have any hope at all of putting an end to incidents like these, we need to stop doubting the accusers and start holding rapists, abusers and bullies accountable. What we don’t need to do is point fingers at those who weren’t to blame for their actions.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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