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The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde Draws Heat for Remarks About Sexual Assault

The "Brass in Pocket" singer made some controversial remarks during an interview about her memoirs.
August 30, 2015, 6:47pm

Photo from the cover of Reckless: My Life as a Pretender

Pretenders singer and guitarist Chrissie Hynde is a legend, a woman who came up through the 70s punk scene to wield mainstream success on both sides of the Atlantic and live to tell the story. Hynde is now touting a career-spanning autobiography called Reckless: My Life As a Pretender that explains how she got through it all, and she's under fire for some prickly remarks about a tough time in her history. At 21, Hynde was sexually assaulted by a motorcycle gang, but in an interview with the UK's Sunday Times, she claims "full responsibility" for the assault. "If you play with fire you get burnt," she said. "It's not any secret." The Guardian recounts more of the story as Hynde's interviewer Krissi Murison, taken aback by the remark, challenges her subject to clarify and gets a doozy of a response:

"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 fuck me,' you’d better be good on your feet… I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial am I?”

Well, yes. All of this comes at a time when shocking allegations about sexual mistreatment of members of the Runaways has come to light, and while it is totally Hynde's business how she comes to terms with the events in her own life, it's unfortunate that she, the victim, feels charged with taking all the blame. The director of Victim Support, a UK foundation for rape survivors, was quick to speak out: "Victims of sexual violence should never feel or be made to feel that they were responsible for the appalling crime they suffered – regardless of circumstances or factors which may have made them particularly vulnerable. They should not blame themselves or be blamed for failing to prevent an attack – often they will have been targeted by predatory offenders who are responsible for their actions." Further criticism of Hynde's remarks continues to bubble throughout the British press.