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Feminist campaigner and literary critic Germaine Greer is still taking stick for suggesting that British soldiers involved in war might be capable of rape.
Eamonn McCann, 13 Jul 2011
“Rape is always present where you have slaughter,” she told BBC Question Time on June 9th. “All soldiers, in certain circumstances, will rape, regardless of whether they’re ours or theirs or whose.”
The Sun reckoned this “a vile slur” on “ours”. The Daily Mail preferred “outrage”. Etc.
Ms. Greer was responding to a question arising from a claim the previous day from the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, that he had evidence “that Gaddafi himself had decided to punish using rapes” and had “acquired containers for (sex) drugs to enhance the possibility to rape women.”
The rape claim had been made three weeks earlier at a UN Security Council meeting by Obama’s representative Susan Rice, but attracted little attention until endorsed by the ICC.
The ICC endorsement came the day after a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels at which the US, Britain and France had tried unsuccessfully to persuade Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey to throw themselves more fully into the drive to kill or oust Gaddafi. The timing of the intervention will have struck even the most trusting as, at least, suspicious.
I am not aware of any mainstream media outlet in Ireland or Britain presenting this sequence of events and allowing its audience to make up its mind.
Still, there was nothing inherently implausible about the rape allegation – although the idea of Gaddafi distributing Viagra to his troops to enable them to get an erection for a rape seemed fanciful from the outset. Ms. Greer was right that slaughter is commonly correlated with rape. Hundreds of thousands of women were raped as the Red Army advanced across Europe in 1944/’45. Just as many were raped by the Japanese in Manchuria, China and Korea. Pakistani soldiers raped tens of thousands of Bengali women during the violent secession of Bangladesh in 1971. Amnesty estimates up to half a million rapes during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Joshua Phillips’ None Of Us Were Like This Before, reviewed here last year, described how rapidly the requirements of war in Iraq and Afghanistan turned American boys reared on MTV into predatory sexual savages. On August 27th last year, Amnesty pleaded for action following “the latest reports of mass rape and other sexual violence committed in the Walikale region of North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 30th July and 2nd August... including (by) the government forces that the United Nations is supporting.”