Chrissie Hynde Criticized for Comments About Rape After Revealing Sexual Assault: 'You Have to Take Responsibility'
The Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde is taking major heat from critics after making controversial comments about her own sexual assault.
“You can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say, ‘Whose brush is this?’ ” the singer, 63, said in a recent interview with Sunday Times. “You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naive.”
According to Hynde, a member of an Ohio biker gang brought her to a vacant house when she was 21 and forced her to perform sexual acts while threatening violence. The singer said that she blames herself for the sexual assault that occurred.
“Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing, and I take full responsibility,” Hynde said. “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.”
Hyde continued, “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 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.”
Katherine Hull Fillet, VP of Communications for RAINN, told PEOPLE in a statement that “a victim is never to blame.”
“One of the most frequently discussed subjects we hear from survivors on the National Sexual Assault Hotline is a sense that they are to blame for what occurred,” she said. “This feeling of self-blame, described by Chrissie Hynde, can often prevent survivors from coming forward and getting the support that they deserve.
“It’s critical for everyone to understand that regardless of the circumstances surrounding a sexual assault, a victim is never to blame,” she continued. “The responsibility always lies solely with the perpetrator, no matter what.”
“Victims of sexual violence should never feel or be made to feel that they were responsible for the appalling crime they suffered, regardless of circumstance or factors which may have made them particularly vulnerable,” Hastings told the newspaper.
Hyde, who is currently promoting her new memoir, Reckless, has not commented further about her statements or the backlash she has received. Reps for Hynde did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
• With reporting by MARIA MERCEDES LARA