Published Aug 30, 2015In Chrissie Hynde's new memoir, the Pretenders leader details a harrowing experience in which she was sexually assaulted by a member of a motorcycle gang when she was 21. Now, this has stirred up a controversy, as the songwriter is being criticized for placing the blame of sexual assault on the victims.
When discussing the incident with The Sunday Times [via Jezebel/Pitchfork], Hynde made comments like, "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," and "If you play with fire you get burnt." She then asked, "If I'm walking around in my underwear and I'm drunk? Who else's fault can it be?"
When the interview pointed out that the attacker was to blame, Hynde offered this response:
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 fuck me,' you'd better be good on your feet… I don't think I'm saying anything controversial am I?
In response, Lucy Hastings of the charity Victim Support said this to The Guardian:
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. 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 organizations so they can get the help and support they need.
Hynde's memoir is called Reckless: My Life as a Pretender. It comes out on September 8 through Penguin Random House.