Genie spent the first 13 years of her life locked in her bedroom. During the day, she was tied to a child’s toilet in diapers; some nights, when she had not been completely forgotten, she was bound in a sleeping bag and placed in an enclosed crib with a cover made of metal screening.
Indications are that Genie’s father beat her with a large stick if she vocalized, and he barked and growled at her like a dog in order to keep her quiet. He also rarely allowed his wife and son to leave the house or even to speak, and he expressly forbade them to speak to Genie. By the age of 13, Genie was almost entirely mute, commanding a vocabulary of about 20 words and a few short phrases (nearly all negative, such as “stop it” and “no more”).