Germaine Greer, seventy nine years old is an Australian writer and public intellectual, regarded as one of the major voices of the second-wave feminist movement, where her ideas created controversy since her first book, The Female Eunuch (1970). The book offered a systematic deconstruction of ideas such as womanhood and femininity, arguing that women are forced to assume submissive roles in society to fulfil male fantasies of what being a woman entails.

Such feminist views are far removed from her current attitude towards rape, where she is calling for offenders to receive lower punishment and has stated society should not see it as a “spectacularly violent crime” but instead view it more as “lazy, careless and insensitive, like bad sex where there is no communication”.

Some might see her attitude to rape as flippant but she recalls of own experience when she was raped at eighteen years of age, being beaten repeatedly by a man telling her “say fuck me” a dozen times. Did she say it? “I don’t think I did, but maybe I did. How would that look on my mobile phone in court saying, ‘fuck me’?” Greer did not make a complaint to police.

She continues; ‘it really isn’t that bad’, calling rape “something that leaves no sign, no injury, nothing.”

The current jail sentence for rape is between five and ten years in England with the average sentence in Australia being seven years. Greer feels that tough sentences could effectively mean fewer rape cases are successfully prosecuted.

“One of the problems is by making the sentences heavier, you get a jury that is less and less likely to convict, because it’s so serious,” she said.  Greer suggested a more lenient approach to punishing rape, perhaps “200 hours of community service,” or an ‘R’ tattoo on a man’s hand, as suitable penance.

Greer is publishing her full argument on rape in a new book, coming out in Australia in September.

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