We are appalled at reports of an alleged TikTok video showing men promoting ‘National Rape Day’ in the United States, which have prompted warnings to women to ‘stay indoors’.
While the original clip is believed to have been pulled down, or even not existed at all, it has sparked panic and warnings online, with the hashtag #24April being viewed more than 62 million times and linked to hundreds of thousands of videos.
TikTok believes the ‘trend’ began as a hoax, and claims no evidence has been found of the original video threatening a day of sexual violence.
“We are disgusted at the notion of anyone making ‘jokes’ about raping women. Even if this was a hoax it has caused fear and anxiety for women and girls,” said Caroline Voaden, CEO of Devon Rape Crisis & Sexual Abuse Services.
“There is no doubt this conversation will have been extremely distressing for many, not least those who are victims and survivors of rape, abuse and sexual violence who may have experienced vivid memories and flashbacks to past experiences triggered by this.”
Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes, whatever the day or date. It is never appropriate to make ‘jokes’ about sexual violence.
“Coming hot on the heels of the Everyone’s Invited episode, we are reminded yet again of the ongoing need to collectively challenge, resist and dismantle the damaging, sexist ‘rape culture’ that still exists in our society.
“Only perpetrators have the power and, crucially, the responsibility, to end violence against women and girls, and we must unite in our message of zero tolerance to those who incite, promote, glorify, trivialise, normalise or commit this violence.”
If anyone in Devon or Torbay has been upset, worried or triggered by this, they can find details of our specialist support services at devonrapecrisis.org.uk/services.