Germaine Greer’s harmful concepts about rape (opinion)


This week, on the Hay Pageant of literature and humanities in Wales, the 79-year-old writer of “The Feminine Eunuch” and vocal figurehead of second-wave feminism claimed that we should not consider rape as “a spectacularly violent crime,” however as ‘dangerous intercourse … the place there is no such thing as a communication.”
Greer suggested a extra lenient method to punishing rape, maybe “200 hours of neighborhood service,” or an ‘R’ tattoo on a person’s hand, as appropriate penance.

“Why not consider the lady and decrease the penalty?” Greer requested. ‘If we’re going to say, ‘Belief us, consider us,’ if we do say that our accusation ought to stand as proof, then we do have to cut back the tariff for rape.”

She cited her personal survival of rape at 19 as testimony that it actually is not that dangerous, calling rape “one thing that leaves no signal, no damage, nothing.”

“I wasn’t that offended,” she harassed.

Earlier this yr, Greer additionally drew outrage with remarks across the #MeToo motion. She told The Sydney Morning Herald: “Should you unfold your legs as a result of he mentioned, ‘Be good to me and I am going to offer you a job in a film,’ then I am afraid that is tantamount to consent, and it is too late now to begin whingeing about that.”

The place to start.

These would all be unusual issues for anybody to say, not to mention somebody who has famously recognized as a feminist for the previous six a long time. However they’re excess of that: They’re harmful.

Germaine Greer calls for punishment for rape to be reduced

If, for instance, rape just isn’t that severe, as she asserts, then how are ladies’s emotions about it to be taken severely? As somebody so invested in ladies’s freedom, why would Greer place the burden of males’s crimes — as they’re in her eyes — on ladies’s shoulders? If ladies are to worth and treasure their our bodies, freed from disgrace, the violation of these our bodies have to be insupportable.

Her suggestion that we should always demur as a result of the prosecution of rape is tough is curiously at odds with a profession spent pushing again in opposition to institution concepts. And at backside, her statements make no sense.

Why is believing the sufferer of a criminal offense — whom Greer assumes is feminine — incompatible with a proportionate penalty for the aggressor? A standard whine of #MeToo decriers is the statistic that between 2% and 4% of accusations of sexual assault are false. The proportion of false accusations of homicide and theft is similar, but that contingent has but to recommend we cut back sentences for these offenses.

So why forged doubt on rape victims, when the burden of proof is similar, and the chances of portray a goal in your again for ridicule and abuse for those who communicate up far better? “Show you did not give him your pockets voluntarily,” mentioned nobody, ever.

Amazingly, some people still think men are the real victims of #MeToo

If, as Greer suggests, the difficulty of consent is so hazy, then completely inking rapists with an R is a bizarre contradiction. It is also a harmful concept. If somebody is predisposed to violence sufficient to rape, it isn’t out of the query they’d go additional to silence somebody totally, reasonably than threat being recognized later.

And if, having dedicated a grotesque act, a rapist genuinely repented and rehabilitated, branding them would impede their assimilation again into the neighborhood. So why hassle? It is as medieval a suggestion as saying that wives ought to simply grit their tooth and take it each time their husband desires intercourse they usually do not.

The reasons Greer provides as to why many individuals really feel extra ache than she does over rape are outdated concepts of feminism.

She told the Hay audience, the place she was talking upfront of the publication of her forthcoming e book “On Rape”: “You may wish to consider that the penis is a deadly weapon and that every one ladies stay in concern of that deadly weapon. Effectively, that is bull****. It is not true. We do not stay in terror of the penis. … A person cannot kill you along with his penis.”
That is laughably gendered. Males are raped too, and a few ladies have penises. However like a lot that’s out of sync together with her view of the world, Greer is happy to dismiss the transgender neighborhood, who’re especially vulnerable to sexual assault, and likewise the concept that an individual’s perspective to rape is not a corollary of their perspective to intercourse and gender.
Why women hesitate to report sexual misconduct

Concern of rape and concern of intercourse are distinct: Intercourse is the results of a keen resolution, and rape is not. Loads of individuals who have been raped have loved intercourse — when it isn’t rape.

“Each time a person rolls over on his exhausted spouse and insists on having fun with his conjugal proper, he’s raping her. It should by no means find yourself in a courtroom of regulation,” Greer advised the viewers.

However that is simply the purpose — intercourse with one other particular person is nobody’s “proper,” one to be “insisted” upon. When it’s, that’s an infringement of the opposite particular person’s rights, and it’s the regulation’s job to guard these.

Like every type of violence, rape treads an odd line between impersonal and intimate. It’s an act that has every part to do with the perpetrator’s incapacity for compassion, and nothing to do with the sufferer’s. However folks have very totally different reactions to being violated, and that’s wholly private.

Violence could also be brutish but it surely is not all the time bodily, and it reverberates as a lot within the thoughts of the recipient because the physique, if no more. Greer’s assertion that the severity of rape is expounded to the “‘susceptibility,” as she would have it, of the sufferer is an alarming confusion. Rape is extreme, and folks reply to issues in another way. As Greer herself factors out, communication throughout intercourse is of the essence, and so, it ought to comply with, is communication round intercourse, and rape.

The dismissal of somebody’s expertise as simply “dangerous” is actively damaging. Survivors’ emotions are theirs to bear, however the weight of the crime is totally not. The aftershock of an occasion that noticed their physique handled as disposable could be compounded if their emotions later are as nicely.

There’s much less distance than we would wish to acknowledge between the ideas “I am making a fuss about nothing,” and “I’m nothing.” The unwillingness to take somebody severely could possibly be the distinction between trauma that heals, and trauma that does not.

Greer appears to have conflated power with by no means having been damage within the first place – as if the one approach to declare possession of a scenario is to say that there is no such thing as a scenario.

Her head is deep within the sand, and providing a poor view of contributions moreover her personal.

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