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Jackie Fuchs speaks out against Chrissie Hynde’s “dangerous” message about rape

After coming forward with her account of being raped by the former manager of her band The Runaways, bassist Jackie Fuchs has had something to say about the troubling comments made by Chrissie Hynde.

The lead singer of The Pretenders came under fire recently after suggesting that she was at fault for her own experience with sexual assault. In press copies of her new memoir Reckless: My Life as a Pretender (out September) Hynde makes reference to how she, in a way, was responsible for her own ordeal:

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

Hynde continued to dig herself into a hole after several more inflammatory comments in support of victim blaming she made to The Sunday Times.

“Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. “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. If you play with fire, you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”

The motorcycle gang comment refers back to the sexual assault she suffered at the hands of a biker gang in the 1970s – something she immortalised in song with the track on the first Pretenders album Tattooed Love Boys.

Fuchs, who was raped by the Runaways manager Kim Fowley, responded to the Hynde’s comments in an interview with Yahoo Music, saying, “I found myself being surprisingly angry” after reading Hynde’s statements. “Don’t put your heroes on pedestals. But I don’t want to cast a stone at Chrissie Hynde — just at that one particular statement. Because it’s a really dangerous message.”

She continues by saying:

“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.”

Fuchs was also troubled by the fact that Hynde hadn’t spoken with other speakers of sexual assault about their experiences

“If you had seen the messages that people sent me, so many of them were about ‘I’ve always thought it was my fault’ … 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.”

As for being unable to outrun rapists in high heels? Fuchs was obviously a little dubious. “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’?”

When it comes to sexual assault people, it’s black and white: It’s never your fault.