Germaine Greer compares rape victims' trauma to her fear of spiders

'Has she lost the plot completely or is she just courting controversy?'

Rachel Hosie
Tuesday 18 September 2018 17:56
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Germaine Greer likens rape victims' trauma to her fear of spiders: 'I can't bear huntsman spiders, it is not their fault'

Germaine Greer has come under fire for comments likening trauma felt by rape victims to her fear of spiders.

Speaking on Australia’s ABC Q&A programme on Monday, the Australian writer courted controversy yet again for her remarks.

Greer was asked to explain her previous comments that rape does not involve injury.

“What the police will tell you is that most rape complaints don’t involve injury,” she said. “Most rapists are known to the people who make the complaint. But the people who make the complaint get nowhere.

“I’m not saying that it’s not damaging. I was raped at 19. And actually because I’m an idiot I was actually sorrier for the man who raped me than I was for myself because I thought, ‘What’s happened to his sexuality? Why has he turned into this mad dog? They’ll shoot him, they’ll kill him, they’ll wipe him out.’ I don’t know what happened to him.”

The Female Eunuch author was then asked to clarify whether being raped did or didn’t traumatise her.

“Trauma is something that is dictated by the sufferer,” she said. “I can’t bear huntsman spiders. It’s not their fault. It’s my fault. I’ve decided to be frightened of them.

“It’s interesting to me that women are encouraged all the time to be terribly, terribly frightened, and nearly always of the wrong thing.”

Many viewers expressed their outrage at Greer’s comments.

“Has she lost the plot completely or is she just courting controversy?” one person wrote on Twitter.

“Germaine Greer appears to be on a one woman triggering-and-gaslighting world tour against rape survivors. What happened to ‘punching up’ – if you’re going to make a salty comment about rape, make the perpetrators, not the victims, your target. Don’t blame/smear/patronise victims,” added another.

But Greer maintained that she is a feminist: “I couldn’t be anything else,” she said. “What else could I be?”

The author has been criticised for an array of remarks about women and the transgender community in recent years – she has previously claimed female abuse victims of the #MeToo movement are “cashing in”, said women enjoy watching sexual violence on TV, and that actresses who “spread their legs” for film roles should stop “whingeing.”

ABC had to defend its decision to invite the author on the show, clarifying that the programme does not share her views.

“The whole point of Q&A is to bring together people who don’t agree,” said the programme’s executive producer Peter McEvoy.

“Being included on the panel isn’t an endorsement. We couldn’t possibly agree with or endorse all the views expressed on Q&A, but we do try to include significant opinions.”

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