The Pretenders singer has been criticised for claiming that rape victims were sometimes to blame for attacks
The Pretender singer has come under fire recently after she seemingly suggested that it is a rape victim’s own fault if they are “putting it about and being provocative”, but in a new interview with The Washington Post, Hynde has described her stance as “common sense”.
In her forthcoming book Reckless, Hynde recalls an incident of sexual abuse she experienced when she was 21. Detailing the event, which saw members of a motorcycle gang rape her in an abandoned house, she wrote: “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 fuck about with people, especially people who wear ‘I heart rape’ and ‘on you knees’ badges.”
Speaking to the Sunday Times about the passage in the book, 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 [the attacker’s] fault. But if I’m being very lairy and putting it about and being provocative, then you are enticing someone who is already unhinged – don’t do that. Come on! That’s just common sense.”
When The Washington Post read back her comments to her, Hyde responded: “Sounds like common sense … If you don’t want my opinion, don’t ask me for it.”
She added: “At the moment, we’re in one of the worst humanitarian crises in our lifetime. [You see that picture of] a Turkish policeman carrying the body of a 3-year-old boy who got washed up on the shore. These are the heartbreaking images we have and we’re talking about millions of displaced persons and people whose families have been destroyed and we’re talking about comments that I allegedly made about girls in their underwear.”
When Hynde was told by Post journalist Geoff Edgers that her remarks had made him feel uncomfortable because he has a daughter, meanwhile, she replied: “I know, but most people aren’t as stupid as me. I wouldn’t expect most people to do some of the stuff I did. But then again, most people don’t get to be a rock star, either.
“We have to walk the plank. I don’t think that’s a sign of intelligence, I don’t know what it is a sign of. I’m not saying I was asking for it. It wasn’t the same as walking down a street in the middle of a nice evening and somebody dragging you into a bush with a knife in your throat.”
Hynde’s comments have been criticised by anti-sexual violence charities. Lucy Hastings, director of the charity Victim Support, 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.”
“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.”