Entertainment & Arts

Chrissie Hynde under fire for rape remarks

Chrissie Hynde (BBC Music video)
Image caption US-born Hynde has lived in the UK for the past 42 years

Singer Chrissie Hynde has come under fire for suggesting it can be a woman's fault if she is raped.

"You know if you don't want to entice a rapist, don't wear high heels so you can't run from him," she said, in an interview in the Sunday Times.

The Pretenders singer, 63, said she takes "full responsibility" after she was sexually assaulted aged 21 in Ohio.

"If I'm walking around in my underwear and I'm drunk. Who else's fault can it be?" Hynde told Krissi Murison.

In her recently completed autobiography, Reckless, Hynde recounts how she was forced to perform sexual acts on members of an Ohio motorcycle gang who had promised to take her to a party, but instead took her to an abandoned house.

"Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility," said the singer, who recalled being high on drugs at the time.

"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."

"I don't think I am saying anything controversial, am I?" she concluded.

Dismissive response

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."

The response on Twitter 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.

But there was also some sympathy.

"People criticising 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 y/self for sthg so awful for so long."

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