The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde: Controversial Comments About Rape Victims

September 1, 2015

The Pretenders’ singer Chrissie Hynde will soon release her memoir, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender.

Chrissie Hynde photographed this month for the Observer New Review by Dean Chalkley.

During an interview with the Sunday Times, Hynde talked about the book, specifically a passage in which she describes being sexually assaulted at the age of 21 by a bike gang member. Hynde said the assault was “all my doing and I take full responsibility.”

“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?” When Sunday Times’ Krissi Murison responded saying 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 replied:

“[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.”