Singer Chrissie Hynde has stirred up controversy with her recent comments about rape victims.
The 63-year-old Pretenders leader, who was promoting new memoir Reckless: My Life as a Pretender (due out Sept. 8), told the Sunday Times magazine that she blames herself for an incident that occurred when she was 21. The member of an Ohio biker gang said he would take her to a party but instead brought her to a vacant house and forced her to perform sexual acts under the threat of violence.
“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.”
“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.”
The interviewer asked Hynde whether she was taken advantage of because she was vulnerable, to which she answered: “If you play with fire you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”
Hynde said that if she now were to be “walking around in my underwear, and I’m drunk” prior to a sexual assault, she would 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,” said the singer behind such hits as “I’ll Stand By You.” She continued: “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?”
Lucy Hastings, head of the charity Victim Support, has criticized Hynde’s comments, according to The Guardian. “It is critical that nothing deters victims of sexual violence from coming forward to the police or to independent organizations so they can get the help and support they need,” Hastings said.
“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,” Hastings added.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.