The Runaways’ Jackie Fox (a.k.a Jackie Fuchs) has responded to incendiary comments made by Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders regarding victim blaming and rape. “Don’t put your heroes on pedestals,” Fox says.
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?”
In her upcoming memoir, Reckless, she holds herself similarly responsible for her own sexual assault (excerpt via the Sunday Times):
“Now, let me assure you,” she writes, “that, technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. You can’t fuck about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges.”
Jackie Fox—the bassist for the Runaways who recently came out about her rape at the hands of her then manager and producer, Kim Fowley—discussed Hynde’s perspective with Yahoo Music!, saying, “I don’t want to cast a stone at Chrissie Hynde—just at that one particular statement. Because it’s a really dangerous message.”
Regarding Hynde’s remarks on how women should dress to avoid getting raped, Fox replied, “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’?”
“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, no stranger to the music industry, offers the following insights:
“Maybe, we’ll just say maybe, for women who came up in rock in an era when there weren’t a lot of women in it, they just thought they really had to act tough. And they’ve carried that with them. And I have no idea whether she really is that tough. If she is, good for her. But you can’t expect everyone to be that way.”
“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,” she adds. “But you don’t get to make that statement for everybody else.”
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