Chrissie Hynde makes me agree with feminists

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. So here comes one of the few instances I am inclined to agree with feminists. The Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde released her autobiography recently. She recounts in the book an instance of sexual assault:

In her recently completed autobiography, Reckless, Hynde recounts how 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 took her to an abandoned house.

“Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility,” said the singer, who recalled being high on drugs at the time.

“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.”

“I don’t think I am saying anything controversial, am I?” she concluded.

One can anticipate the feminist response, but for the sake of openness, here it is:

But her comments were condemned by the charity Victim Support who said that victims “should not blame themselves”.

Lucy Hastings, director of 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.”

I agree. Hynde stated in an interview, “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk. Who else’s fault can it be?”

The rapist’s. It does not matter what you are wearing or not wearing. It does not matter if you are sober or high. It does not matter if you are being provocative and enticing or shy and withdrawn.

No one should have sex with you without your permission, let alone force you into sex.

If they do, that is not your fault.

I will agree that it is not a good idea to be “very lairy and putting it about and being provocative” around someone you think is unhinged. That you are responsible for. If you think that behavior will put you at risk, then you should not engage in it.

However, you have no control over or any responsibility for how another person acts. They are responsible for their own behavior. This is particularly true when you are vulnerable. Indeed, it makes it even worse for someone to assault you when you clearly have no means of fighting back.

That is not to say I do not understand Hynde’s logic. I apply it to my own experiences. I understand why someone would look back on their life and think that if they had not done this or that then things would have happened differently. The difference, at least based on this article, is that Hynde does not acknowledge that logically she is not at fault. She seems to genuinely think she caused the assault to happen.

In that sense, I can agree with feminists that this is the wrong way of thinking.

5 thoughts on “Chrissie Hynde makes me agree with feminists

  1. I saw this yesterday and wrote an article for my blog that I haven’t yet published because I need to clean it up a bit. I echoed your sentiments, but also took the opportunity to discuss a little semantics. Hynde used the word “fault” where feminists use the word “blame.” I think there is a difference. The way I see it, “fault” assigns responsibility and “blame” carries a value judgment along with responsibility. Although Hynde is taking too much responsibility for her behavior, she is at least taking responsibility. She is at least partially at fault for putting herself into that situation. But in no way is she to blame. Her rapists made a conscious decision to rape her. They are the ones whose behavior should be judged.

  2. Ashley,

    “I wonder if she would say the same thing about male rape victims.”

    If she didn’t, she would a lone voice of sanity. Ask any male rape victim, especially if his rapist was a woman.

    “Hynde stated in an interview, “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk. Who else’s fault can it be?”

    The rapist’s.”

    Indeed, it is *also* the rapist’s. All she is saying is that she takes responsibility for putting herself in harm’s way. We say that of a lot even worse crimes.

  3. She is stating a truism of reality. If your associations; social in particular, bring you into contact with potentially dangerous circumstances, then one must accept some responsibility for unpleasant events.

  4. No one in the history of the world has ever made anyone rape them or sexually abuse them. Ever. By definition it is not possible.

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