Belfast Telegraph

Chrissie Hynde is so wrong over rape assertions

By Holly Baxter

When do you get a free pass to rape a woman? Because we've all been scratching our heads about the answer to this one, Chrissie Hynde has given us some valuable guidelines in a Sunday magazine interview.

"You know, if you don't want to entice a rapist, don't wear high heels so you can't run from him," the rock 'n' roll star told her (presumably horrified) interviewer. If a woman is being "lairy" and "provocative" in the street after a few drinks, she said, then "who else's fault can it be" if she ends up getting raped? Who else's, indeed? Not the perpetrator's, that's for sure.

The specific instances when rape doesn't end up the fault of the victim are apparently confined to when a woman is "walking around and ... very modestly dressed and ... keeping to (herself)."

Otherwise, like Hynde when she was taken to an empty house by a member of a motorcycle gang at the age of 21 and forced to perform sexual acts under the threat of violence, you're practically asking for it. In her own words, "If you play with fire, you get burnt".

The idea that sexual assault is a natural occurrence, ready to engulf passing women, is one as damaging and insulting to women as it is to men.

This persistent belief that men are naturally inclined towards rape and that women have to dress, or act, or behave, accordingly, because otherwise it'll just end up happening, is one that prevents so many assaults from being reported, or prosecuted, every year.

Rape is not a natural disaster and men are not prowling animals whose natural instincts would be kept under control if only women would just stop putting on fishnets, or getting drunk, or looking so damn sexy all the time.

However, it has consistently been found in psychological studies that rapists do believe all men rape - which helps them to justify their actions to themselves. In a society that believes there are "certain types of girls" who are up for grabs, perpetrators only start feeling guilt when they're told you don't fit into the "asking for it" category.

I feel sorry for Chrissie Hynde, believing all her life that she was to blame for a vicious sexual assault, because she fit into one of those categories.

Chrissie, it wasn't your fault - and any other victim's, either.

Belfast Telegraph

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