Viewing The Runaways Rape Through The Eyes Of Internet Commenters

Two days ago, The Huffington Post published an exclusive account of the rape of former bassist of all-girl band The Runaways, Jackie Fuchs. Jackie was 16 in 1975 when the band’s producer, Kim Fowley drugged and raped her at a New Years Eve party in front of multiple witnesses, including then-band members Joan Jett and Cherie Currie.“I remember opening my eyes, Kim Fowley was raping me, and there were people watching me,” said Fuchs. Jason Cherkis writes of the account—”On the bed, Fowley played to the crowd, gnashing his teeth and growling like a dog as he raped Jackie. He got up at one point to strut around the room before returning to Jackie’s body.” Jett totally denied witnessing the rape, and stated: “It’s a matter involving her and she can speak for herself.”

Fuchs reportedly felt unable to go public with her assault until the recent high-profile sexual assault cases came out involving high profile celebrities. Ke$ha has accused prominent pop producer Dr. Luke of drugging and assaulting her, and it’s been confirmed that Bill Cosby used Quaaludes to facilitate multiple rapes. While these cases have become an open public conversation, the topic of rape doesn’t seem to be much less stigmatized. I found out about the story through an Vulture article, Former Runaways Bassist Says Producer Kim Fowley Publicly Drugged and Raped Her When She Was 16, or more so through the comments written below the article.

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Yuck 300 initially comes off like a huge idiot, (“punch up the impact of Jackie’s rape”?) albeit a huge fan of the Runaways, until Lumen, another commenter, steps in.

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The “Kitty Genovese effect” is a reference to the bystander effect, which claims that witnesses are less likely to intervene in dire situations when other people are around. The internet commenters search for someone to blame, especially since Kim Fowley died last January, and there seem to be a lot of options in this situation. More than anything, Yuck 300’s issue is with the legacy of The Runaways—will the rape change the conversation about the band, as if there was much of one anyway? How does Joan Jett, who now advocates for the rights of the LGBTQ community with Miley Cyrus play into that? Is her authenticity in question? With big, frustrating, emotionally charged questions like this, maybe the internet is the place to go to for answers—then again, maybe not.

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