Chrissie Hynde will release her new memoir, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, next month through Doubleday. In a new interview to promote its release, The Pretenders singer opened up about a harrowing incident in which she was sexually assaulted by a motorcycle gang member in 1973.
Perhaps more startling, however, is the fact that to this day the 63-year-old musician blames herself for what happened. “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility,” she told The Sunday Times (via The Guardian). “You can’t fuck about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges … those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do.”
Her comments then quickly veered into victim blaming: “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.”
Hynde even went so far as to say that women who are dressed a certain way should share some of the blame if they are assaulted. “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?”
She continued, “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.”
Since the Sunday Times interview surfaced, Hynde’s remarks have drawn much criticism. Lucy Hastings, director of the UK charity Victim Support, has issued a response to refute Hynde’s victim-blaming. “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,” she said.
“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.”