In Depth

Germaine Greer: ‘rape is rarely a violent crime’ and four other controversial quotes

Feminist academic tells Hay Festival that most so-called sex attacks are ‘just lazy, careless and insensitive’

Rape is “rarely a violent crime” and should be punishable by 200 hours of community service, Germaine Greer has argued in her latest controversial outburst.  

Speaking at the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts in Wales, Australia’s most famous feminist argued that rape is widespread and that the legal system cannot tackle the problem because it always comes down to the issue of consent, with the victims becoming little more than “bits of evidence”.

“She said the system was not working and radical change was needed,” reports The Guardian.

“I want to turn the discourse about rape upside down. We are not getting anywhere approaching it down the tunnel of history,” continued Greer, who was raped at a party when she was 18. 

“Most rapes don’t involve any injury whatsoever. We are told that it is a sexually violent crime, an expert like Quentin Tarantino will tell us that when you use the word rape you’re talking about violence, a throwing them down... it is one of the most violent crimes in the world. Bullshit, Tarantino.”

She went on: “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.”

Greer dismissed the idea that many rape victims suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “The official position now is that 70% of rape victims suffer PTSD and only 20% of veterans,” she said.

“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 [improvised explosive device] is to a veteran?”

Greer has taken aim at a number of different aspects of modern feminism in recent years. Here are some of her other more contentious quotes:

Transgender women ‘are not real women’

Speaking recently on Channel 4 programme Genderquake: The Debate, Greer said: “Being without a penis doesn’t make you a woman any more than being without a womb makes you a man.”

The outspoken academic was repeating a point that she had made on an Australian TV debate show in 2016, when she argued that a transgender person could not know their real gender identity, because “you don’t know what the other sex is”.

#MeToo campaigners are ‘whingeing’

Speaking about the ongoing Hollywood sex abuse scandal, Greer reportedly told Australia’s Fairfax Media in January: “What makes it different is when the man has economic power... But if you spread your legs because he said, ‘Be nice to me and I’ll give you a job in a movie’, then I’m afraid that’s tantamount to consent, and it’s too late now to start whingeing about that.”

Female genital mutilation is ‘like getting a tattoo’

Speaking on Australian currents affairs programme Q&A in 2012, Greer compared the cutting of female genitals in Africa to tattoos or piercings, saying: “I would never dream of telling people who are disfiguring a perfectly beautiful human body with bad drawing that they have no right to do that.”

She “echoed those comments in her 1999 book The Whole Woman when she argued banning the practice, widespread in Africa, was ‘an attack on cultural identity’”, reports the Daily Mail.

Princess Diana was the ‘worst f***’ in Britain

Greer said during a TV interview in September 2017 that she wouldn’t have been a fan of the late Princess of Wales if she were still alive.

She added: “What would the tally be of the men who had dumped her by that stage?”

“It would be 40 or 50 probably, worst f*** in the county, by all accounts.”

Recommended

Long Covid: the symptoms, the treatment and who is most at risk
A Covid patient is wheeled into hospital
Fact file

Long Covid: the symptoms, the treatment and who is most at risk

Gunboats sent in to Jersey fishing row: what happens next?
St Helier
Today’s big question

Gunboats sent in to Jersey fishing row: what happens next?

Changing legal gender: what’s new and how does it work?
The transgender flag
In Brief

Changing legal gender: what’s new and how does it work?

Why is the government planning to cut arts education funding by 50%?
A controversial government advertising campaign from October 2020
In Brief

Why is the government planning to cut arts education funding by 50%?

Popular articles

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?
Night Tube Sadiq Khan
In Depth

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?

What is Donald Trump up to now?
Donald Trump
In Depth

What is Donald Trump up to now?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 4 May 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 4 May 2021