When Germaine Greer was 19 years old, and a student at the University of Melbourne, she was raped by a man whose name she cannot remember.
He played rugby and was a pillar of the community – but at a barbecue one night in 1958, this man beat her with his fists, slammed her head against a car door, demanded she repeat sexually degrading phrases after him, and both verbally and physically humiliated her.
Through gritted teeth, she recalls saying “No,” and when that was ignored she simply said, “Be quick”.
This was 60 years ago.
She remembers that when he let her out of the car, at first she could not stand up. He had been been kneeling on her thighs in order to force them apart.
“What’s the matter with you?” he asked as she lay there.
She thought silently to herself: “You are mad”. Did he expect her to skip from the vehicle in which she’d just been raped? Probably.
Eventually, she staggered out of the car and began “wandering the street”, at the same time her rapist returned to the party they’d both been at, Greer told Mamamia.
You can listen to my interview with Germaine Greer in the Mamamia Out Loud or No Filter feed. Post continues.
“I thought everyone would be able to see what happened to me,” she said.
Injured and embarrassed she stood by the side of the road, and when a car edged towards her she didn’t even hail it.
Inside were a man and a woman, who asked where they could drive her to. Her answer was simply: “home”.
“I hadn’t thought about it very much lately,” Greer said, “it’s a long, long time ago, but I think now if there were five men in that car that might be the last you ever heard of me. I was a wounded creature…. they probably would have attacked me.”