While giving an interview in support of her new memoir Reckless, the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde made some comments about rape that have drawn major criticism. In conversation with The Sunday Times, she explains away a violent, forcible sexual encounter with a member of a motorcycle gang by claiming that the incident was her fault, and then claiming that rape can sometimes be the victim’s fault.
“You have to take responsibility,” she says, according to Jezebel. “I mean, I was naive. […] They’re motorcycle guys! If you play with fire you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”
From there she gets into a line of thought that some outlets have described as “victim blaming.” Interviewer Krissi Murison admits that she was “shocked” by Hynde’s comments and suggests that the man who attacked her was at fault. Hynde disagrees.
“That’s just silly,” Hynde replies. “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 f–k me,’ you’d better be good on your feet… I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial am I?”
The Guardian reports that U.K. organization Victim Support has already released a statement providing a corrective to Hynde’s comments.
“Victims of sexual violence should never feel or be made to feel that they were responsible for the appalling crime they suffered,” They wrote. “Regardless of circumstances or factors which may have made them particularly vulnerable.”