Chrissie Hynde: Rape Can Be Woman's Fault
She blames herself for biker attack when she was 21
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2015 2:03 AM CDT
Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of the Pretenders, is seen during rehearsals at John Henry's studio in north London in 2009.   (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Chrissie Hynde is promoting her new memoir, Reckless, and what she has to say about a sexual assault she suffered when she was 21 has provoked a mixture of outrage and pity. The Pretenders singer tells the Sunday Times that she takes "full responsibility" for being brought to an abandoned house and forced to perform sexual acts on members of an Ohio biker gang after being told she was being taken to a party. If I'm "very modestly dressed and I'm keeping to myself, and someone attacks me, then I'd say that's his fault," she says. "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," she says, adding that if "you don't want to entice a rapist, don't wear high heels so you can't run from him."

Groups including the charity Victim Support strongly criticized the remarks, stressing that victims—including Hynde—should never blame themselves, the BBC reports. "It's incredibly common for victims of sexual assault to blame themselves or find some sort of excuse for why it happened," the founder of SlutWalk DC tells the Washington Post. "We've been entrenched with these ideas that if you behave in a certain manner or you dress in a certain way that you are able to reduce your chance of getting victimized and that's just completely untrue," she says, describing rape and sexual assault as "a crime of power, not a crime of sexual attraction or sexual desire." The Guardian's Hadley Freeman tweeted: "Many people seem furious with Chrissie Hynde, and I get why, but I feel pity for her. Imagine blaming y/self for sthg so awful for so long." (Ozy makes the argument that there's a rape problem you're not hearing about.)