Germaine Greer is facing a fierce backlash after she claimed rape was mostly “bad sex”, and called for shorter jail sentences for rapists.
The 79-year-old suggested that a fitting punishment should be 200 hours of community service, or for offenders to have an “R: tattooed on their hand or cheek.
The Australian writer, who is best known as one of the leading voices in the second-wave feminist movement, shocked the audience of the literary festival she was speaking at, with some saying they were “horrified” and angry at her comments.
Greer told an audience at the Hay Festival that most rapes “don’t involve any injury whatsoever”.
The Guardian reported that Greer continued by saying: “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.
“Most rape is just lazy, just careless, just insensitive. 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.”
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.”
Greer also poured scorn on the idea that victims of rape suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “The official position now is that 70% of rape victims suffer PTSD and only 20% of veterans.”
She added: “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 denied claims that women’s lives can be destroyed by rape, instead saying women are just “bloody annoyed”.
Greer was a victim of rape when she was a teenager. Speaking of the violent attack she says she was “beaten half-conscious”.
Her comments sparked outrage, with some calling for her to no longer be referred to as a “feminist”. Tanja Bueltmann wrote on Twitter: “I call for Germaine Greer to stop calling herself a feminist. Because she very clearly isn’t.”
The writer Will Black said: “It’s increasingly looking like feminism is just something Germaine Greer tried at a party.”
Another commentator, the writer Victoria Smith, added: “Rape is never “careless” or “lazy”. Penetrating another person’s body without their consent is an active choice.”
One journalist who was at the festival said Greer appeared to be “making it up as she went along”.
Some women who experienced rape were deeply offended and angry about Greer’s comments:
Greer has long divided public opinion, and her comments on rape have sparked outrage many times before.
Earlier this month, Greer claimed that women fuelled the appetite for female rape and murder in the media.