Rock star Chrissie Hynde has provoked outrage by claiming that some rape victims are to blame for being assaulted.
In an outspoken interview with The Sunday Times to promote her new autobiography, the former Pretenders frontwoman suggested that what women wear and how they behave determines whether they are partly responsible for being attacked.
“If you’re wearing something that says ‘Come and f*** me’, you’d better be good on your feet,” she said.
In her book, she recounts being sexually assaulted by a motorbike gang in Ohio in the ‘70s, and maintains that the attack was her own fault.
At the time she was on drugs and agreed to go to a party with the gang - instead the men took her to an empty house and sexually attacked her.
“Now, let me assure you, that, technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility.
“You can’t f*** about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges.” - extract from Reckless
When she is challenged over her views on rape, the 63-year-old stands by her position, adding, “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?”
Hynde also suggests that women can avoid being sexually assaulted by not dressing “provocatively” and by not being “lairy”.
“If you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him,” she said.
She has been widely criticised by equality campaigners and charities who support victims of rape.
Lucy Hastings, the director of charity Victim Support responded to Hynde: “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.
“It is critical that nothing deters victims of sexual violence from coming forward to the police or to independent organisations so they can get the help and support they need.”
Some experts pointed out that Hynde's stance was “self-blaming” behaviour typically used by some rape victims as a coping strategy.
Polly Neate, the chief executive of Women’s Aid, added: “It doesn’t matter what lifestyle you lead or what you wear - rape is never the victim’s fault. Chrissie Hynde’s experience was not her fault.”
Despite her longtime status as a feminist icon now being on shaky ground, Hynde maintains during the interview that she is the “poster girl for feminism.”
“I’ve never made a decision because a guy suggested it,” she said. "I’ve always been self-supporting. I’ve never moved somewhere because of a guy. I’m not proud of it, I just do my thing.”
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