An interview with Chrissie Hynde sparked controversy on Sunday when the Pretenders frontwoman said victims of sexual assault must “take responsibility.” Multiple organizations that provide resources to rape sufferers spoke out against Hynde’s comments, which appeared in the UK’s Sunday Times.
The 63-year-old singer recalled an incident in which a member of an Ohio biker gang forced her to perform sexual acts in a vacant house under the threat of violence. Hynde said she was was 21 at the time.
“Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. You can’t f**k 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 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 f**k me,’ you’d better be good on your feet … I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial, am I?” [via Vulture]
High-ranking staffers from RAINN and Victim Support spoke out against Hynde’s remarks, in addition to a flurry of rebuttals that have flooded Twitter in the past 24 hours.
“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,” Victim Support director Lucy Hastings said, according to The Guardian. “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.”