Rock singer Chrissie Hynde recently revealed that when she was 21 she had been sexually assaulted by members of a motorbike gang when she was drunk, provocatively dressed and high on drugs. She says she ‘took full responsibility for what happened’ to her.
Hynde isn’t wrong to deal with her rape in a way she needs to so she can have some form of peace in her life. That’s up to her and the same goes for any person victimized by sexual assault. Your time, your life, your story, and your path to healing.
What is at issue is Hyde’s public remarks that rape is a victims fault. Her comments have been widely condemned. There are already far to many victims who blame themselves or come forward only to be blamed all the same. It doesn’t help when a well-known celebrity puts doubt into the hearts of those victimized by sexual violence.
They only people benefiting from Hynde’s comments are rapists who think, “Well, you wore that so what did you think I would do,” and cops who just can’t help asking, “What were you wearing?”
“How much did you drink?”
“Why were you there alone?”
“Why are you so confused?”
“Why didn’t you fight back?”
“Why didn’t you call sooner?”
“Why were you out so late?”
“Are you sure you said stop?”
“If you were sexually assaulted, why didn’t you go to the hospital right away?”
“Did you flirt with him?”
“He’s cute. Sure you didn’t just have a moment of weakness?”
The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime has put together a downloadable pdf file about victim blaming and how harmful it is – both to victims and to those who think somehow if they follow certain measures they’ll be safe.
There is no protocol to keep you safe from being raped because rape has nothing to do with what you do. Rape is the fault of rapists. It always has been, it always will be.