Content warning: This piece deals with issues around rape and sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.
Because of course, what do you do when you’re bored of offending the transgender community? Go after survivors of sexual assault, it would seem.
Speaking at the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts in Wales, Greer — who is publishing her full argument on rape in a new book coming out in September — also argued for lessened prison sentences of rapists. The New York Times reports “many in the audience walked out, visibly upset”.
Ms Greer told the audience “most rapes don’t involve any injury whatsoever”.
“We are told it’s one of the most violent crimes in the world… Bullshit. Most rape is just lazy, just careless, just insensitive,” she reportedly said.
“Every time a man rolls over on his exhausted wife and insists on enjoying his conjugal right, he is raping her. It will never end up in a court of law.
“Instead of thinking of rape as a spectacularly violent crime – and some rapes are – think about it as non-consensual, that is, bad sex. Sex where there is no communication, no tenderness, no mention of love. We used to talk about lovemaking.”
That entire Germaine Greer article is honestly one of the most dangerous, ignorant things I have ever read. I refuse to even link it & help spread it.
Forcing yourself inside a woman’s body will ALWAYS be violent. To all survivors, your pain is real, you deserve your justice.
— Amy (@Burtini) May 30, 2018
Greer, who famously penned The Female Eunuch in 1970, said the “official position” that 70 per cent of rape victims suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, compared to 20 per cent of military veterans, was inconceivable.
“At this point, you think, what the hell are you saying? That something that leaves no sign, no injury, nothing, is more damaging to women than seeing your best friend blown up by an IED is to a veteran?” she said.
“It is moments like these, I can hear the feminists screaming at me, ‘you’re trivialising rape!’
“Well I’ll tell you what … You might want to believe that the penis is a lethal weapon and that all women live in fear of that lethal weapon, well that’s bullshit. It’s not true. We don’t live in terror of the penis … A man can’t kill you with his penis.”
Greer said she felt could comment on the issue as she was raped as an 18-year-old by a man who, while beating her, told her to “say f*ck me” a dozen times.
Her own experience aside, Twitter was predictably astounded.
“As a survivor of abuse I can assure you she needs to not speak on this issue. This kind of thinking is what allows more young women to think no big deal. Over half of the victims of rape don’t tell a soul,” singer Kaya Jones tweeted to her 200,000 followers.
“I call for Germaine Greer to stop calling herself a feminist. Because she very clearly isn’t. And the hailing of her as one needs to stop. It should have stopped a long time ago, really, but now is certainly a good time to really do it,” Professor Tanja Bueltmann of Northumbria University also tweeted.
Emily Hunt of Prosecute Rape and a rape survivor herself said the fact Greer was not troubled by her own rape does not make it the case for every other survivor.
“I am happy for #GermaineGreer that she wasn’t one of the vast majority of rape victims who end up with PTSD, but seriously, we’re not all overreacting or hysterical. Rape victims with PTSD: we’re statistically significant. Rape is always violent, whether or not there are bruises.”
Meanwhile, gender justice specialist Natalie Collins told The New York Times Greer’s comments are “hugely harmful to women”.
“They collude with rape and demean and diminish the very awful crime of rape.”
It’s certainly not the first time Greer has courted controversy.
In 2009, she wrote for The Guardian about transgender women, writing “we pretend that all the people passing for female really are”.
In 2015, she reiterated her stance to the BBC, saying transgender women are “not women” who do not “look like, sound like or behave like women”.
In 2012, she compared the cutting of female genitals in Africa to tattoos or piercings in an episode of Q&A, and in that same year, took aim at Julia Gillard’s “big arse”.
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