Chrissie Hynde has spoken out against the idea of rape culture, saying that women who dress provocatively and then get drunk should take some responsibility if they are then attacked and raped. Recounting an episode from her youth in which she was sexually assaulted, the singer said she took “full responsibility” as she was on drugs.
Hynde, 63, the former lead singer of The Pretenders has released a memoir, Reckless, in which she reveals how she was picked up at the age of 21 by a motorcycle gang in Ohio who promised to take her to a party, but instead took her to an empty house and forced her to perform sexual acts.
“Now, let me assure you,” she writes, “that, technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. You can’t f*** about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges.”
Questioned about the incident during an interview with the Sunday Times magazine, she said “those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do.
“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.”
When asked whether the gang took advantage of her vulnerability, she replied: “They’re motorcycle guys! If you play with fire you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”
Hynde then said that women who dress provocatively while drunk are to blame if subsequently attacked. “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?” she said.
“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*** me’, you’d better be good on your feet … I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial am I?”
She also called out women who proclaim to be feminists but are not. Asked whom she meant, she said: “Women who sell what their product is by using sex – that’s prostitution. A pop star who’s walking around, parading themselves as a porn star and saying they’re feminists. They’re prostitutes.
“I’m not making a value judgment on prostitutes, but just say what you are.”