Greer to publish controversial essay On Rape

Greer to publish controversial essay On Rape

Germaine Greer is publishing a new book, On Rape, arguing there are "important differences between sleaze and assault". 

World rights to the title were bought by Melbourne University Press (MUP), for publication on 1st September. The release will be followed by an Australian tour.

In On Rape, Greer writes that "centuries of writing and thinking about rape—as inflicted by men on women—have got us nowhere". She will draw attention to statistics showing that, although one woman in five will experience sexual violence, "very few" rapes ever find their way into a court of law and "seldom result in a conviction".

"The only result of desperate attempts to apportion blame and enact chastisement has been an erosion of the civil rights of the accused," she argues. "Sexual assault does not diminish; relations between the sexes do not improve; litigation balloons. There has to be a better way." 

MUP c.e.o. Louise Adler said the publisher was "proud to be publishing an original and powerful essay from this great feminist of our era, renowned for her courageous, independent and provocative writing" after acquiring world rights.

She added: "The #MeToo campaign is revealing the pervasive nature of predatory behaviour. On Rape will argue that we need to understand the important differences between sleaze and assault."

News of the book was first reported by the Sydney Morning Herald as part of an interview exposing Greer's controversial views criticising what she called the "whingeing" #MeToo movement. 

During the interview, published in January, she said she wanted women to react in the here and now and actresses who had "spread their legs" for Harvey Weinstein had left it "too late now to start whingeing about that". She also dismissed rape as a "daily crime" that's "not spectacular", and suggested rape cases wasted police time because the burden of proof was "too high". 

"My feeling is we ditch rape altogether [as a crime] because it’s hopeless," she said then. "I have seen the police working up a rape case trying desperately hard to build it up so it will stand up in court – and wasting their time. The burden of proof is too high and that’s because the tariff is too onerous. Rape is a daily crime, it’s not spectacular. What we need is a coherent law of sexual assault.”

Greer said then that On Rape would be "a sequel of sorts" to her essay 10 years ago On Rage, an essay about Aboriginal dispossession. It was prompted by MUP's request for her to update the work which she declined on the basis "it's of its time". "So I'll do On Rape because I've been arguing about rape for a long time," she had said.

In January 2018, Greer was named Australian of the Year in Britain. To date, through Nielsen BookScan, she has sold 143,850 books for £1.44m since 1998, with 2000’s The Whole Woman (Transworld) her bestseller with 34,953 copies sold.