While the matter of sexual assault is generally no laughing matter, Reductress, a women’s satirical news website, has posted a number of Onion-style articles on its homepage that highlight the issues we see with reporting sexual assault and the conversations surrounding it. The homepage takeover was in response to controversy after a man was kicked out of the Upright Citizens Brigade, a comedy group, because female members accused him of sexual assault.
Headlines of these articles include “Man Who Sexually Assaulted You Likes Your Facebook Post About Sexual Assault,” “'Most Women Lie About Rape,' Says Man Lying About Rape,” and “Chill Ways to Just Sort of Live with It.”
Kurt Metzger, a comedian and writer for Inside Amy Schumer, has been one of the most vocal defenders of the male Upright Citizens Brigade comedian, saying that since the women have yet to report the assaults to the police, there is no basis for banning anyone.
Metzger’s troubles with the accusations culminated in awkward, offensive social media posts that have earned him scorn. Amy Schumer condemned Metzger’s posts in a tweet.
“I am so saddened and disappointed in Kurt Metzger. He is my friend and a great writer and I couldn’t be more against his recent actions,” Schumer said.
Beth Newell, the founder and head editor of Reductress, spoke to Jezebel about the website’s latest posts.
“Our female comedian friends were feeling pretty frustrated with a lot of the dialogue surrounding these events, specifically some of the comments coming from men,” Newell said. “We put out a call to writers for pitches on the topics of sexual assault and related issues and we received an overwhelming response… I think this story is so much bigger than [Metzger] and to make it entirely about him is maybe giving people a scapegoat. Not to mention giving him the attention he desires.”
Though it may seem as if Reductress is taking the issue of sexual assault too lightly, the articles themselves do not eliminate the very real issue of sexual assault, but rather they illuminate key issues through humor.
For example, a quote from an article entitled “This Rapist Has Figured Out a Way to End Rape Culture,” says it all:
“Jeff, a yet-to-be-convicted serial date rapist, offered to share his secret on how to end rape culture. How generous! Here’s his advice: 'Rape culture doesn’t exist.' Wow! Jeff admits that rapes 'do happen' but that culture is 'not even a thing.' 'There are individuals who make decisions, and that’s it,' Jeff says. 'It’s like, why can’t you use logic?' Good point! We should just drop it. Be the change you wish to see in the world! When asked to explain further, Jeff asked, 'Why are you so obsessed with this? It’s weird that you keep trying to talk about it when we’re all just trying to have a good time here.'"
Another article, “I Anonymously Reported My Rape for the Anonymous Attention,” highlights a misconception some have about the women who do report rape.
“There’s nothing more thrilling than being publicly dragged through the mud as strangers speculate about why you deserved to have a horrific crime committed against you,” the article reads. “Most women dread this ritual of victim-shaming, but not me. I reported the crime because I wanted some attention, without any of the attention specifically aimed at me. What can I say? I’ve just always kind of been one of those people who feeds on drama!”