Women who walk around drunk and provocatively dressed should expect to be sexually assaulted, Chrissie Hynde, the lead singer of the Pretenders, has suggested.
The former chart topper claimed in a Sunday newspaper interview that scantily clad women were likely to “entice a rapist” and that it is their “fault” if they are attacked.
She discloses in a new memoir how she was abducted and sexually assaulted by a motorcycle gang in Ohio in the early 1970s – but concludes it was “all my doing” because of the way she was dressed and the fact that she was under the influence of drugs.
She also claimed that pop stars who call themselves feminists but use their sex appeal to sell records were effectively just “prostitutes”.
Charities said her remarks highlighted how victims of sexual assault wrongly blame themselves for their ordeals.
Her comments came in an interview with The Sunday Times, which published extracts from her autobiography entitled “Reckless”.
The book details an incident when she was 21 when she was picked up by a motorcycle gang who promised to take her to a party but instead took her to an empty house and sexually assaulted her.
But she said: “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be? – Er, the guy who attacks you?
“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.”
She added: “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 —- me’, you’d better be good on your feet I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial am I?”
But her comments were condemned by the charity Victim Support who said that victims “should not blame themselves”.
Lucy Hastings, director of Victim Support, said: “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.”
Here was the response on Twitter that was equally dismissive:
“Chrissie Hynde has completely destroyed her feminist legacy in one ignorant, appalling statement”, tweeted Andrew.
Dear Chrissie Hynde. NOTHING ever justifies the rape or sexual assault of a woman. It’s the abusers fault only. Love. A Man”, tweeted Antony.
“Thing about rapists is that they’re rapists. They don’t care what victims wear. Their impulse is to rape. They’re rapists. Chrissie Hynde”, wrote Jill.
Twitter also had some sympathy for Chrissie:
“People criticizing Chrissie Hynde for her comments are overlooking that she is a victim and this is self blame. I feel v sorry for her tbh”, tweeted Stephanie.
While the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman echoed her thoughts: “Many people seem furious with Chrissie Hynde, and I get why, but I feel pity for her. Imagine blaming yourself for something so awful for so long.”
WOW! I am not a rape victim and hope I never am – knock on wood. But there are several points to be made here.
First, Chrissie Hynde is a 63 year old woman who has been around in life and I am sure she has a lot of stories to tell. Obviously, so many that in fact, she has just released a new book – “RECKLESS”. With a new book – most likely she has a publicist out there telling her what to say to help sell her new book, and we all know the expression – sex sells.
Secondly, Chrissie was a victim of rape. Like I said, I can’t imagine being raped. However, I am pretty sure if I was a victim it’s not something I could EVER forget or get over. I also believe any therapist or psychologist would tell any rape victim to NOT blame themselves. Self blame can prevent the survivors of rape from getting help. I believe that. I also think it is critical for ANY sexually assaulted woman to understand she is a victim. I mean come on – there are some sick dudes out there, so sick they don’t need any excuses to rape you.
Third, I get that Chrissie Hinde is a woman and feels this way. I was young and vulnerable too. I can understand to a certain degree what she said that dressing certain ways attracts certain people. I believe that’s true. I mean come on, when I was young and in my early 20’s I “dressed up.” I put on a nice dress, styled my hair, put on a pair of sexy shoes, made myself up and went out with the girls. Safety in numbers. That’s what I did. That’s what we did. That’s what women STILL do. Yes, I agree certain clothes attract certain people, but NO means NO. Just because you dress up and wear heals, that doesn’t give the right to any man to rape you! That’s not right! And just because I put on nice heals, that should not make me a rape victim. I happen to like nice heals, what woman doesn’t? However, I do agree certain clothes can make a woman look “slutty,” but even if I put on “slutty clothes,” that doesn’t give any man the right to rape me. However, clothes do, I believe send singles. So, personally, I just use common sense.
In closing, to say that because you are wearing provactive clothes, you should be raped, that’s insane and over the top, but you are asking for trouble. It’s like walking down a street at night when it’s pitch black and only wearing black clothes! You wouldn’t say that person wearing only black clothes at night SHOULD be hit by a car, but they are certainly NOT using common sense. They are to a certain degree asking for trouble. Same principle. Ladies – can we just use some common sense, please?
Written by Nancy Hayes
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