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Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK
Greer shrugs off assault
Germaine Greer
Germaine Greer: "I don't regard myself as a victim here"
Academic and feminist icon Germaine Greer has dismissed an alleged assault on her by a female student saying she refused to be afraid.

Ms Greer, 61, said she had not been hurt in the incident at her isolated country house near Saffron Walden, Essex, and was intending to continue working as normal.

Police were called to Ms Greer's home after she was assaulted and held captive for up to an hour on Bank Holiday Monday.

I haven't even lost my sense of humour. My patience is getting a tad thin.

Germaine Greer
A 19-year-old woman has been charged with unlawful imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm as a result of the incident and is due to appear before magistrates in Harlow, Essex, on 4 May.

Ms Greer talked to journalists at her home after returning from a literary festival in Ireland.

"You can see I am fine," she said. "I haven't even lost my sense of humour. My patience is getting a tad thin.

At risk

"I don't regard myself as a victim here."

The Australian writer admitted she had been "sort of" frightened.

"I was apprehensive," she said. "I don't want to maximise any of this. I am not the person at risk."

Ms Greer said that ever since her book The Female Eunuch was published in 1970 she was aware that she could be at risk.

"There has always been an off-chance that someone was going to pick me off," she said. "I refuse to be afraid."

The writer said she had not got the help she felt she was entitled to from the "responsible institutions" over the incident.

But she singled out the police for praise saying they had been "wonderful".

News of the incident and the arrest was not released by Essex Police and did not emerge until Wednesday night.

Badly shaken

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said Ms Greer had asked for the incident not to be publicised and officers had concluded that there was no danger to other members of the public.

Police were called to Ms Greer's home after reports of an intruder at about 2200BST on Bank Holiday Monday. She was said to have been uninjured but badly shaken after allegedly being held captive for as long as an hour.

It is understood the alarm was raised after three friends, who had been invited for dinner, arrived at the 500,000 Georgian house and heard shouting.

Australian-born Dr Greer is currently professor of comparative literature at Warwick university, but became a household name after writing the groundbreaking feminist text The Female Eunuch, which was published in 1970.

It has sold more than one million copies and been published in 13 languages.

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See also:

25 Nov 99 | UK Politics
MPs attack Greer on female circumcision
28 Dec 99 | Americas
Is feminism relevant in 2000?
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