To push back against a culture where rape survivors are doubted far too often, the satirical feminist website Reductress has dedicated its homepage to darkly funny jokes about rape. Headlines include: “This Brave Man Hates Social Media Witch Hunts So Much He Decided To Start His Own,” “How To Be An Ally To Both A Rapist And His Victim,” and “Chill Ways To Just Sort Of Live With It.”
The homepage takeover comes in response to a sexual assault controversy unfolding in the New York comedy community over the past week. A prominent comedian was banned from the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy network after being accused of rape by multiple women. Many applauded UCB for the ban, while others spoke strongly against it. The most vocal critique has come from Inside Amy Schumer staff writer Kurt Metzger, who took to Facebook to pen a strongly worded, vaguely nonsensical post about a fictional alleged rapist named “Jiff Dilfyberg”:
Metzger has continued to be outspoken on Twitter, with most of his anger centering on the fact that these women brought their issues to UCB’s attention, rather than going to the police:
Although UCB has yet to release an official statement or even confirm that a comedian was banned, Amy Schumer has personally disavowed Metzger’s campaign:
However, Reductress is less interested in specifically calling out any one person than it is in skewing rape culture in general. Speaking to Jezebel, Reductress founder and editor Beth Newell explains:
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. 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.
So instead, there are pieces like Nicole Silverberg’s “I Anonymously Reported My Rape For The Anonymous Attention,” in which she writes:
As many women know, the process of reporting the rape can be as traumatic as the assault itself. The burden of proof is put upon the victim and there’s often a bias toward innocence, which can make the entire process feel futile and even cruel. The process of reporting my rape nearly destroyed me, but it was all worth it—just to see my name, “21-year-old woman,” emblazoned in newspapers next to the words, “may have had two beers that night.”
To be honest, I just wanted to feel like a victim—without any of the actual aid or benefits of being one. For me, that was enough.
Other satirical highlights on the Reductress homepage: “This Rapist Has Figured Out A Way To End Rape Culture,” “‘Most Women Lie About Rape,’ Says Man Lying About Rape,”and “Dude Corner: Have You Considered Spending $300 On A Self-Defense Class?” There’s also “Let Me Tell You What An Actual Witch Hunt Looks Like” as detailed by a 17th-century witch named Hagatha.