Singer Chrissie Hynde has a new interview with The Sunday Times to promote her memoir, Reckless: The Life Of A Pretender, which arrives in stores on September 8. The interview covers a wide range of subjects, including her former jobs (cleaning alongside the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten) before becoming a rock goddess. She covers sex, drugs, and her high-profile romances, but there’s one subject that’s causing Chrissie lots of backlash.
In the middle of the Times talk, Chrissie discusses how she was raped by an Ohio motorcycle gang when she was 21. The members promised to hook her up with a wild party, but instead, they drove her to an empty house and gang raped her. Chrissy says she takes “full responsibility” for what happened. Upon decades of reflection, she now believes that being raped can be the woman’s fault:
“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 … 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. 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.”
This justification and victim blaming is not a new phenomenon, but it says something that Hynde herself is a rape survivor. Quite possibly, Hynde blames herself as a means of taking back the power in the situation, which has clearly haunted her for decades. Chrissy’s experience deserves all manner of empathy, but she appears to lack empathy for her fellow survivors. The “don’t dress that way” argument is a messy one at best.
As one can imagine, Twitter feels much differently than Hynde does on the subject.