The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde Makes Controversial Comments Blaming Rape Victims
Chrissie Hynde will soon release her memoir, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, which chronicles her rise to fame as the frontwoman for the Pretenders. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Hynde discussed the book, specifically a passage in which she details being sexually assaulted at the age of 21 by a bike gang member. Speaking with the Times, Hynde made highly controversial and heartbreaking comments about the experience, saying the assault was “all my doing and I take full responsibility.”
Hynde invoked oft-used victim-blaming language, suggesting that victims put themselves in situations or dress and act in certain ways that lure violence:
Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. You can’t f--- about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges … those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do... You can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say, ‘Whose brush is this?’ You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naïve… If you play with fire, you get burnt.
Hynde went on, “If I’m walking around in my underwear when I’m drunk, who else’s fault can it be?” According to Jezebel, when the Times’ Krissi Murison responded that responsibility remained with the attacker, Hynde replied:
Oh, come on! That’s just silly. If I’m walking around and I’m very modestly dressed and I’m keeping to myself and someone attacks me, then I’d say that’s his fault. But if I’m being very lairy and putting it about and being provocative, then you are enticing someone who’s already unhinged — don’t do that. Come on! That’s just common sense. You know, if you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him. If you’re wearing something that says ‘Come and f--- me’, you’d better be good on your feet… I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial am I?
Lucy Hastings, the director of the U.K.'s Victim Support, has since responded to Hynde’s remarks.
“[Victims of sexual violence] should not blame themselves or be blamed for failing to prevent an attack -- often they will have been targeted by predatory offenders who are responsible for their actions," Hastings told the Guardian. "It is critical that nothing deters victims of sexual violence from coming forward to the police or to independent organisations so they can get the help and support they need.”