Pretenders Frontwoman Chrissie Hynde Says Drunk Women to Blame for Rape

By Paul Gaita 09/01/15

The rocker is under intense fire even while blaming herself for her own sexual assault.

Chrissie Hynde

Singer-songwriter Chrissie Hynde is facing a volatile backlash from social media for comments she made in her new book, which suggest that she was at fault for her sexual assault by a motorcycle gang member in the 1960s.

Hynde, who has fronted The Pretenders since the late 1970s, wrote in her new memoir, Reckless, that she was raped at the age of 21 after accepting an offer of a ride to a party from the gang member.

“This was all my doing,” she wrote in the book, which will be published by Doubleday on Sept. 8, 2015. Hynde drew further criticism after elaborating on the statement and the incident in an interview with the Sunday Times in the United Kingdom.

“Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing, and I take full responsibility,” she said. “You can’t f--- about with people, especially [those] who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and 'On Your Knees’ badges ... You can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say, whose brush is this? You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naïve. If you play with fire, you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?"

Hynde also writes in Reckless that women who wear “provocative” clothing are inviting assault.

“If I‘m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk, who else’s fault can it be? 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," she wrote. "But if I’m ... 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.”

A spokesperson from RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), a U.S.-based anti-sexual assault organization, responded to Hynde’s comments in a statement which read, “This feeling of self-blame, described by Chrissie Hynde, can often prevent survivors from coming forward and getting the support they deserve. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a sexual assault, a victim is never to blame. The responsibility always lies solely with the perpetrator, no matter what.”

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.