Chrissie Hynde Stands By Victim-Blaming Rape Comments: It's "Common Sense"
The Pretenders singer reaffirmed her controversial remarks in which, when recalling her own alleged sexual assault, said victims "have to take responsibility."
Chrissie Hynde stands by the controversial rape comments she made in an interview with the U.K.'s Sunday Times magazine, in which she said victims "have to take responsibility," and not only has she not been paying attention to the uproar, but she also doesn't care if you don't agree with her.
In a new interview with The Washington Post, the Pretenders singer responds to a question about people who were offended with, "If you don’t want my opinion, don’t ask me for it."
She adds about the controversy over her remarks and her critics, "They’re entitled to say whatever they want. Do I regret saying it? I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it.”
Hynde, whose memoir Reckless: My Life as a Pretender comes out Tuesday, told the Sunday Times magazine that she blames herself for being sexually assaulted by a man in an Ohio biker gang, who forced her to perform sex acts and threatened her with violence.
"Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing, and I take full responsibility," Hynde told the Sunday Times. "You can't f— about with people, especially people who wear 'I Heart Rape' and 'On Your Knees' badges. … Those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do."
"You can't paint yourself into a corner and then say, 'Whose brush is this?' " she continued. "You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naive."
She went on to tell the Sunday Times that if she was "walking around in my underwear, and I'm drunk" before being sexually assaulted, she'd be at fault. "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," she said. "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?"
When her comments to the Sunday Times are read back to her by the Washington Post reporter, Hynde says, "Sounds like common sense."
The songwriter also argues that people should be talking about more important issues.
“At the moment, we’re in one of the worst humanitarian crises in our lifetime,” she says. "You see that picture of a Turkish policeman carrying the body of a 3-year-old boy who got washed up on the shore. These are the heartbreaking images we have and we’re talking about millions of displaced persons and people whose families have been destroyed and we’re talking about comments that I allegedly made about girls in their underwear."
Later, in a Q&A about the book, the interviewer comes back to Hynde's accounts of being sexually assaulted and ending up drugged and naked in a man's house after hitchhiking, both of which she says are expected outcomes.
"I would say there was an element of sexual assault, but frankly, if you go into the club house of the world’s most notorious bikers, it’s not going to be for a Bible reading," she tells The Post.
As for the hitchhiking incident, she says, "I knocked on the guy’s car door and said, 'Can you give me a lift?' to a stranger. What was I thinking?”
She ends The Post interview by saying that most people wouldn't be so "stupid as ... to do some of the stuff I did," and that her memoir "is not meant to be a guide."
She did poke fun at the whole rape uproar, telling The Post, "I’m not a philosopher. I’m just a rock singer. And now a leading authority on rape."