Jackie Fox Responds To Chrissie Hynde’s Victim-Blaming Rape Comments

Another rock goddess has fallen from the feminist pedestal she probably should never have been on to begin with. In an interview with the UK’s Sunday Times a few day ago, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, who is promoting her upcoming memoir, Reckless, had some seriously upsetting things to say about rape victims:

I’m shocked to hear Hynde say that she thinks, as a woman, if you walk down the street drunk and provocatively dressed, then you can’t complain if you end up in trouble. She is similarly shocked that I don’t agree.

“If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?”

Er, the guy who attacks you?

“Oh, come on! That’s just silly. 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 f*** me’, you’d better be good on your feet… I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial am I?”

What makes this infuriating position sad, however, is that its echoed in Reckless in regards to Hynde’s own rape, for which she also blames herself. When Hynde was 21, she accepted a ride to a party from some members of a motorcycle gang and then was raped by them under the threat of violence. According to the Sunday Times:

“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? You have to take responsibility,” Hynde added. “I mean, I was naive.”

“If you play with fire, you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”

It’s disturbing to not only see Hynde blame herself for that violent assault so many years ago, but also applies those views to other women, instead of recognizing that the only people responsible for rape are THE RAPISTS THEMSELVES. Consenting to a ride to a party is not consenting to being violently assault. Wearing high heels is not tantamount to asking to be raped because they make it harder to run away. A woman’s clothing does not render their body any less her own.

Earlier this summer, Jackie Fox of the Runaways came forward about being raped by the band’s manager, Kim Fowley, a secret she had kept for decades, in part because she blamed herself. She expressed her disappointment with Hynde’s comments in an interview with Yahoo! Music, saying, “It’s a really dangerous message.” As for Hynde’s ridiculous assertion that women shouldn’t wear high heels because they “entice” rapists and make it so you “can’t run,” Fox questioned, “Are most of us really going to be able to outrun a rapist even in sneakers? And are rapists really going to look at a woman and think, ‘Nah, fuck it, she’s wearing flats’?”

She went on:

“It bothers me, because I don’t know that she’s gone out there and talked to [other] rape victims. If you had seen the messages that people sent me, so many of them were about ‘I’ve always thought it was my fault.’ We already think that anyway. So this is just telling people who’ve recently gone through this experience of being raped or abused, ‘Yeah, you’re right, it is your fault.’ But there’s no such thing as asking for it. And poor judgment is not an invitation to rape, nor an excuse for it.

I know so many women who were raped while they were drunk or high, and they all blame themselves. To say that a woman can’t misjudge how much she’s drinking, or dress in a way that makes her feel good about herself for fear that men aren’t going to be able to control themselves, or that she has to be able to know who is dangerous and who isn’t, is asking an awful lot of men and women — especially young people.”

Fox concluded, “If you want to, for your own-self-empowerment, take personal responsibility because you feel like you need to for something you did, that is one thing. But you don’t get to make that statement for everybody else.”

Exactly. I am so sorry for what happened to Chrissie Hynde when she was 21, and I’m sorry she’s spent the last four decades blaming herself, but I really wish she’d reconcile her feelings in private instead of blaming women she does not and will not ever know for their rapes.

[TIME]

[Yahoo! Music]

[Sunday Times]