- The Washington Times - Monday, August 31, 2015

The Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde is facing a wave of backlash after she blamed herself for being scantily clad and high on drugs when she was raped by a motorcycle gang 42 years ago.

“You know if you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him,” the 63-year-old told the U.K.’s Sunday Times.

“If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk. Who else’s fault can it be?” Ms. Hynde asked. “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility.”

The singer said she was drunk and high when she was forced to perform sexual acts on members of an Ohio motorcycle gang who had promised to take her to a party but instead brought her to an abandoned house.

“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,” she explained. “Come on! That’s just common sense.”

The backlash over Ms. Hynde’s comments was swift on social media, with many accusing her of victim-blaming.

The Guardian’s Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett lamented that “comments such as Hynde’s infringe our modern sense of feminist solidarity, and it always stings more coming from a woman.”

“It might be thought that experiencing rape would automatically make you empathetic to other rape victims, but in a culture where women are encouraged to blame themselves for this crime, it’s not surprising that some victims would then apportion blame to other victims, too,” Ms. Cosslett argued. “It’s a curiously conservative mindset coming from an ex-punk, but also a relic of the era in which Hynde came of age. A time when, if you were a woman wanting to carve out some space for yourself — particularly in the music industry — you were on your own.”

Charity group Victim Support said victims should never “blame themselves” for an attack.

“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,” Lucy Hastings, director of Victim Support, told the BBC. “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.”

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