Is Rape Just Bad Sex?

Germaine Greer thinks women’s movements will die off if they continue to turn rape and sexual assault into legal battlegrounds.

Robert Cormack
6 min readJun 5, 2018

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Courtesy of Dreamstime

“You might want to believe that the penis is a lethal weapon, and all women live in fear of that lethal weapon, well that’s bullshit.” Germaine Greer

America is a nation of myths. A president can form a myth about all Mexicans being rapists and drug dealers. A scientist, working for the FDA, can claim GMOs are nothing to worry about. Throughout American history, the fine line between fact and exaggeration has been the cornerstone of its existence.

You could say news wouldn’t be news without a certain amount of exaggeration. If journalists and columnists stuck to facts, we’d be through the 6 o’clock reports in about 6 minutes. We need filler, so we need myths.

Recently, Germaine Greer, the feminist of feminists, claimed the whole allegory of rape is a myth, something that has most feminists howling and probably more than a few rapists wanting to kiss her feet.

“Quentin Tarantino will say it’s one of the most violent crimes in the world. Bullshit, Tarantino.”

How could Greer, a rape victim herself, call most rapes just lazy, careless, non-consensual bad sex? “I can hear the feminists screaming at me, ‘you’re trivializing rape!” she said. “Quentin Tarantino will say it’s one of the most violent crimes in the world. Bullshit, Tarantino.”

Greer believes the world is full of bad sex (and bullshit, obviously), but she questions how 70 percent of women suffer from PDSD, while only 20 percent of war veterans do. “What the hell are you saying? “she adds. “Something [non-consensual sex] that leaves no sign, no injury is more damaging to a woman than seeing your best friend blown up by an IED is to a veteran?”

In her latest book, Greer seems to take a certain amount of assiduous joy debunking the myth of rape. It’s enough to make feminists wonder if she’s had a change of heart or, perhaps, a sex change. Has the Queen of Feminists gone to the other side? Or does she see exaggeration turning the feminist battleground into the next Little Big Horn?

Months back, I wondered the same thing. As I pointed out in “Believing Our Own Myths,” General George Armstrong Custer was so pleased with himself after the Washita River Massacre (which was mostly women, children and old people), he led his Seventh Cavalry to Little Big Horn, figuring he’d have an easy day. What he thought were a few hundred Cheyenne and Sioux turned out to be over 10,000 pretty upset warriors.

Custer’s body was later found on Last Stand Hill, naked to his socks, with an erection. As historians would later note, the whole thing could have been avoided if Custer hadn’t believed his own myth—and had a better spy glass.

“I want to turn the discourse about rape upside down,” she claimed. “We are not getting anywhere approaching it down the tunnel of history.”

Could it be that Greer sees the same thing happening with feminist movements today? Could #MeToo and #TimesUp be turning what looks like a successful battleground into a bloody mess, miscalculating their own right to claim rape and sexual assault as violent acts?

“I want to turn the discourse about rape upside down,” she claimed. “We are not getting anywhere approaching it down the tunnel of history.”

According to her, even supposedly cut-and-dried trials like Harvey Weinstein’s won’t have the effect women want. The only winners will be the lawyers. To her mind, the biggest mistake victims make is going after long prison terms for their assailants. These are the hardest cases to try, and losing only makes future rape accusations bigger headaches for the courts.

She’s more in favour of supposed rapists—where evidence of violence isn’t present—doing 200 hours of community service and having “r” tattooed on their hands.

Feminists, of course, are appalled. They’re accusing Greer of trivializing rape, turning it into “bad sex,” instead of standing up for women. But it might be Greer, the cooler head in the bunch, who sees the battleground before it becomes a massacre. She may be right in her own way.

Is feeling violated or “uncomfortable” enough to ruin someone’s career, their marriage or their children’s lives?

Let’s go back to General Custer for a minute. His problem was thinking his myth could apply across the board. If he could take out one unguarded village, why not them all?

Could this be the same mistake women are making now?

Since the start of the #MeToo movement, more and more allegations have surfaced, some nothing more than “I felt violated.” Is feeling violated or “uncomfortable” enough to ruin someone’s career, their marriage or their children’s lives?

As one activist pointed out, “So what if a few innocent men are brought down? How does that compare with what women have suffered?”

It’s an interesting argument, possibly the same one Custer used during the American Indian Wars. Didn’t all Indians deserve to be butchered? Hadn’t they butchered enough innocent white men, women and children?

In fact, it’s like if you haven’t been mauled, heckled or ejaculated on by a man, you aren’t a real feminist.

In reality, few tribes were killers. Warring factions like the Comanches and Apaches were certainly bloodthirsty, but they killed more Indians than whites. In a way, isn’t that the mistake women are making now?

Today it seems like every woman is claiming she’s been sexually assaulted at one time or another. In fact, it’s like if you haven’t been mauled, heckled or ejaculated on by a man, you aren’t a real feminist.

One woman wrote me after reading “Believing Our Own Myths,” saying, “I tried to remember if I’d ever been raped. I couldn’t remember having been. That made me wonder if I wasn’t pretty enough to be raped.”

To belong you have to have a shared experience. Fortunately, it’s no longer a question of “Were you raped or not?” Now you can claim “unwanted advances” and you’re a full-fledged member.

Better to kill a few thousand innocents in the name of justice — or perceived justice.

Perhaps that’s what Greer is worried about. Is wanting to be a full-fledged member driving women to report rape? And once you’ve outed bigwigs like Harvey Weinstein, aren’t you inclined to move on to every sexist in every boardroom, casting session and award show going?

Near the end of his life, Custer claimed to have killed more Indians than snakes. It wasn’t hard to do, considering the mood at the time. Who wanted to go around worrying about getting scalped? Better to kill a few thousand innocents in the name of justice — or perceived justice.

When millions gather, yes, it’s a call for change. Pay equality, recognition, safe environments — these are all worth fighting for. But movements can undo the good they’ve accomplished. They can find themselves riding off, sure of a victory, when 10,000 Sioux and Cheyenne are around the corner.

“If we are going to say trust us, believe us,” Greer stated, “if we do say that our accusation should stand as evidence, then we have to reduce the tariff for rape.”

If anything, Greer is saying “pick your battles.” Rape is rape. Bad sex is bad sex. Unless we distinguish between the two, we’re creating more filler for the news, more myths, and more money in the lawyers’ pockets.

“If we are going to say trust us, believe us,” Greer stated, “if we do say that our accusation should stand as evidence, then we have to reduce the tariff for rape.”

I still hear the feminists howling, feeling justice is theirs if they attack in numbers. Like those Cheyenne and Sioux, it’s hard to talk moderation when you’ve got your war paint on. At the same time, who wins in the end? One side ends up dead with an erection, the other side ends up on a reservation.

It’s one thing to “pick your battles,” another to realize it wasn’t worth at battle at all. I guess time will tell.

Robert Cormack is a novelist, blogger and children’s book author. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Yucca Publishing or Skyhorse Press for more details.

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Robert Cormack

I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.