Jackie Fuchs Says Her Alleged Rape Was “Traumatic For Everyone,” While Joan Jett And Cherie Currie Deny Being Present

Last week, the Huffington Post published an exclusive profile of Jackie Fuchs, aka Jackie Fox, bassist for the ’70s girl band, the Runaways, in which she alleges that she was brutally raped by the band’s manager when she was just 16 years old. Her story was shocking and heartbreaking, in part because she claims that Kim Fowley sexually assaulted her at a post-show party at a hotel, in front of other guests, many of whom were also minors. While some of the witnesses stormed out of the room in anger, no one did anything to stop Fowley as he penetrated Fox with a hairbrush and then raped her – including, says Fuchs, two of her bandmates, Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. Huffington Post writer Jason Cherkis interviewed other witnesses who corroborate Fuchs story, including another one of Fowley’s victims, singer-songwriter Kari Krome.

Since then, both Jett and Currie have denied any knowledge of the rape, let alone being present when it occurred. Jett posted on Facebook:

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. For a group of young teenagers thrust into 70s rock stardom there were relationships that were bizarre, but I was not aware of this incident. Obviously Jackie’s story is extremely upsetting and although we haven’t spoken in decades, I wish her peace and healing.

Currie, who the story says “stormed out of the room” during the rape, also responded to the allegations on Facebook, first writing, “All I can say is if Joan, Sandy [West, the Runaways’ drummer] and I saw an unconscious girl being brutally raped in front of us, we would have hit him over the head with a chair,” but then continued in a separate post:

I have been accused of a crime. Of looking into the dead yet pleading eyes of a girl, unable to move while she was brutally raped and doing nothing. I have never been one to deny my mistakes in life and I wouldn’t start now. If I were guilty, I would admit it. There are so many excuses I could make being only one month into my sixteenth year at the time that people would understand but I am innocent. When I return from Sweden I will seek a qualified polygraph examiner to put to rest any and all allegations. I will make public the questions, answers and results of that test. I will prove I am telling the truth. I will not allow anyone to throw me under the bus and accuse me of such a foul act. I will fight for myself. It is the only thing I can do and I’m glad to do it.

Confusing things, is the fact that the Huffington Post piece alleges that Currie wanted to include the rape in her own memoir in 2000, but in her version, Jackie was just a bystander. Fuchs threatened legal action and the book was canned — and when another publisher released Currie’s memoir years later, the rape story does not mention Jackie at all. In 2009, in a series of back and forth blog posts, it seemed like Fuchs was denying that any such incidents occurred during her time with the band, but the Huffington Post piece makes clear that she just wasted ready to tell the world what was actually her story and no one else’s.

I’m glad to see, at least, that though both Jett and Currie are denying being witnesses, neither is accusing Fuchs of outright lying about the crime itself. Jessica Hopper over at Pitchfork interviewed Cherkis very thoroughly about his reporting process on this story, especially in light of what happened with Rolling Stone and their story about rape at UVA, and it seems pretty airtight to me. Nor can I fathom a reason why Fuchs would make such a horrible thing up – women don’t exactly reap any particular rewards for leveling rape accusations, especially false ones (which are very rare), and that would especially be the case here, given that Fowley is dead and Fuchs is not seeking anything but, well, relief from the burden of silence about what she endured for so many years.

Fuchs, meanwhile, is handling her former band members denials with an admirable amount of empathy, making it clear that she does not blame them at all for what (allegedly) happened that night and that, as minors themselves, they were also victims. She posted her own long message to Facebook last night, writing:

The sheer number of people who have written to tell me their own stories of rape and abuse has been heartbreaking. Many have said they’ve never told anyone about their rape or abuse, or that the people they told didn’t believe them.

But they’ve also said that my story has given them hope that the dialogue about rape is changing. Some have reevaluated their own trauma in light of learning about the Bystander Effect. One person wrote that I had given her a gift: “the ability to see that the people in the room were victims too. Their behavior didn’t mean I deserved [the abuse]. It just meant they were afraid and didn’t know what to do.”

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.

I don’t know that we’ll ever get “proof” as to whether Jett and Currie were present that night, but I hope their denials don’t deflect from Fuchs’ bravery in telling her story as she remembers it.

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