If an intoxicated woman walks down the street in stilettos and a slinky dress, is she more likely to be raped than a sober, covered-up woman walking down that same street and keeping to herself? Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of The Pretenders seemed to say as much in her new memoir, and it left us feeling pretty uncomfortable.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, the 63-year-old explained her statements by recounting her own assault by a biker gang back when she was 21 years old.
“Now, let me assure you that, technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility,” she writes in the book. “You can’t f*** about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges.”
We weren’t the only ones with raised eyebrows over the passage. She blamed herself then and she still seems to still blame herself all of these years later.
“If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?” she tells the publication.
“Er, the guy who attacks you?” the interviewer asks.
“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,” she continued. “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?”
The remarks are making the rounds on the Internet this week, proving that they are indeed controversial. Points such as the fact that roughly four out of five rapes were committed by someone who knew the victim have been used to counter-argue Hynde’s statements, while others are raising the idea that it’s common for victims to blame themselves. According to Victim Support, we should also remember that Hynde herself is a victim.
“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,” director Lucy Hastings told 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.”
Hynde is entitled to her opinion, after all she did go through a harrowing experience. And sadly, at the time she went through it, blaming the victim wasn’t uncommon. Today, we just want to tell Chrissie that it actually wasn’t her fault.