Chrissie Hynde Criticized For Rape Victim Blaming

Well, here’s a sad and fucked up story. As The Guardian reports, the Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde has just opened up about being sexually assaulted when she was 21, also saying some really awful, heartbreaking victim-blaming stuff. In a new interview with The Sunday Times about her forthcoming memoir Reckless: My Life As A Pretender, the singer says that an Ohio motorcycle gang member promised to take her to a party but instead took her to an empty house where she was forced to perform sexual acts under the threat of violence, but she takes “full responsibility” for what happened. “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it,” she says, “This was all my doing and I take full responsibility. You can’t fuck 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 naive … If you play with fire you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”

She then went on to spout some disgusting old-school “But what were you wearing?” rhetoric:

If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be? 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 fuck me,’ you’d better be good on your feet … I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial am I?

These remarks have (rightly) been condemned by many, including Lucy Hastings, the director of UK charity Victim Support. “Victims of sexual violence should never feel or be made to feel that they were responsible for the appalling crime they suffered — regardless of circumstances or factors which may have made them particularly vulnerable,” Hastings responded in a statement. “They 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. 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.”

Really, the saddest part of all of this is that Chrissie Hynde still blames herself for a truly awful thing that happened to her 42 years ago.