The Onion Tries — And Fails — To Make Some Hi-larious Satirical Jokes About Child Sexual Abuse


The Onion is at it again, because calling Quvenzhané Wallis a “cunt” on Oscar night wasn’t offensive enough. They have now published a lovely little “humorous” essay called:
Adolescent Girl Reaching Age Where She Starts Exploring Stepfather’s Body
Because the idea of a 13-year-old girl having sex with her stepfather, which is sexual abuse any way you spin it, is FUNNY! It’s satirical and humorous and hilarious, no? No, it’s not, and this article isn’t even remotely funny, not even in an “I can’t believe they would be so audacious to publish something this awful” way.

While it may seem as though she was a little girl only yesterday, local 13-year-old Heather Perrington is now reaching that age where she is likely to begin exploring her stepfather Craig Dunbar’s body, experts confirmed Tuesday. “It can be awkward and even a little scary for an adolescent girl when she experiences all these strange new feelings and starts to notice the sexual desires of her mother’s husband,” said Ronna Denton, the counselor and health teacher at Perrington’s middle school. “It will probably take time for Heather to figure out what does and doesn’t feel good to her stepfather, and she may be surprised to discover acne and hair in unexpected places on Craig’s body. But it’s all part of growing up, and she should know that she is taking a very important step in life. It won’t be long before her childhood is gone forever.” Denton added that if the eighth-grader is confused or troubled by such experiences, she should try talking to friends her age who are going through the exact same thing.

Just as a nice reminder for that lovely idiotic staff at The Onion, one in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. About 30 percent of these perpetrators are family members, including stepfathers. One can only assume that The Onion is trying to spotlight how ludicrous it is to give a victim of sexual abuse autonomy within her abuse. But that’s precisely what this attempt at satire is accomplishing: trying. And failing. There’s no satire here. Just a perpetuation of a very problematic stigma that many young sexual abuse survivors are somehow complicit in their abuse.  Maybe this type of Douchebag Dudebro ™ is the best The Onion has to offer us now.

Humor is subjective. I don’t believe in censorship. But what I do believe is that The Onion just isn’t funny anymore, and in a desperate click-grab, they post things like this which are offensive to many out there, including survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

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  • Renee J

    They must have taken that down, because I didn’t see it.

  • Maria Guido

    Even the “Onion Hub” twitter account that’s not affiliated with the Onion but just posts fan tweets just tweeted, “we’re done.”

  • DMH

    I hate this. I hate this so much. As a survivor or childhood sexual abuse, I just cannot understand how someone can even write shit like this. I just… Ugh. I can’t even.

    *rage face*

  • Rachel Sea

    Great comedy writers can make great jokes about abuse, because they know to make the abuser the butt of the joke. Whoever wrote this is not a great comedy writer.

  • JLH1986

    Dear Onion: Satire. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Suburban Mommy

    I removed The Onion from my newsfeed on Facebook during the Newtown school shootings. The day of the shootings they were using pictures of the kids running out of the school in some stupid article. I didn’t read the article, but using the images of those kids was enough for me to boycott them. On the whole, I consider myself to have a pretty good and generally raunchy sense of humor. But I draw the line at kids getting killed and being abused. (I know, I’m too uptight). You’re right, though: The Onion just isn’t funny anymore.

  • allisonjayne

    Some people just don’t understand that saying something shitty/mean/absurd isn’t inherently FUNNY.

  • Fabel

    Uh okay, they failed. The “cunt” thing was at least explainable by way of, “the humor lies in the fact that no person in their right mind—not even a bitchy celebrity news writer— could call a child actress a ‘cunt’”… this is just, what even is this

  • Jennifer

    Okay, even the headline fills me with rage. I can’t even read the rest of this.

  • Hecubussos

    This is probably less a joke where the punch line is a statement about giving victims autonomy where there is none, and more a comment on victim blaming and specifically a response to this ridiculousness While I didn’t think it was “funny haha” I did get where they are going, and wasn’t offended. FYI I have also been sexually assaulted as both a child and adult. I basically think they are pointing out how victim blaming a child is bizarre and disturbing with juxtaposition exposing how utterly grotesque the experience is for the victim.

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