Sexual assault laws in the U.S. vary wildly from state to state, and in many states, the law fails to protect victims in seriously egregious ways.
Some of these laws are so reprehensible that even the evilest of supervillains would find them too insane to enact, according to a hilarious and powerful new video from Funny or Die.
The video features Gotham star Erin Richards as the head of a ring of supervillains who are brainstorming nefarious ways to take down the beloved city of a hero named Captain Brave. After a few standard-fare wicked suggestions roll in (like harnessing the power of the moon to flood the city with a tidal wave), one particularly wiley, red-eyed supervillain at the table excitedly rasps, “Let’s make survivors of sexual assault pay for their own rape kits!”
Sign up for Women's Health's new newsletter, So This Happened, to get the day’s trending stories and health studies.
As the other supervillains respond with an entertaining mix of confusion and disgust, the evildoer goes on to suggest that they consider automatically destroying untested rape kits every six months so the perpetrators will never be caught, or denying survivors access to counselors and their own police reports.
"I personally want to watch Captain Brave weep as his beloved city sinks into the ground," Richards responds, "but even I wouldn't do any of the fucked up stuff you're saying."
The video takes a more serious turn when the red-eyed villain reveals that they don’t even actually have to do any of these things, since they’re already taking place as a matter of policy in parts of the U.S. The supervillains decide that prior to destroying Captain Brave, they’ll see if he wants to team up to get some common sense legal protection for sexual assault survivors—then they’ll sink the city he loves into the ocean.
The video concludes by asking viewers to take action by signing a Change.org petition urging Congress to support the Sexual Assault Survivors Rights Act, which was introduced on Tuesday with the goal of providing uniform federal protections and a comprehensive bill of rights for surivors of sexual assault across all 50 states.
The bill, which would give survivors the right to not have to pay for their own rape kits, to obtain a copy of their own police reports, and to have their rape kits preserved until the statute of limitations on their case is up (among other things), was introduced in partnership with Rise, a nonprofit that provides resources and advocates for legal protections for the 25 million survivors of sexual assault currently living in the U.S.
The Change.org petition is sponsored by Rise’s founder and president, 24-year-old Amanda Nguyen, a survivor of sexual assault who is currently working as the White House’s deputy liaison at the State Department. Nguyen founded Rise after her own harrowing journey navigating her state’s sexual assault laws.
“The hardest part was realizing that the system meant to protect and deliver justice is broken,” Nguyen told the New York Times earlier this month. “The system tells survivors to go to authorities to get help. I did that, but navigating the broken system was worse than the rape itself.”
Hopefully, videos such as this one will call more attention to the issue, and one day we won't need a team of supervillains to help right these wrongs.