24th April: What’s the disturbing ‘national rape day’ on TikTok and where is it from?
It has been called a ‘TikTok hoax’
TW: Rape and sexual assault
A disturbing new “hoax” on TikTok has emerged, with users alleging people are calling April 24th “national rape day”.
People are talking about the hoax with shock and disgust, as well as sharing ways people can stay safe. They’re also rightly saying it’s not funny, regardless of whether it’s serious or a “joke”. But where did April 24th come from, and what are people saying about it on TikTok and other social media?
Where did 24th April come from?
According to Know Your Meme, there are posts about sexual assault and a “national rape day” from at least 2010 on Twitter, but none of these specifically mention 24th April as the day.
In April 2019, an Urban Dictionary user published a now-deleted “national rape day” definition, claiming it is April 24th, “the day when it’s legal to rape people”. Obviously, this is not true.
In March this year, a TikTok user posted a video sharing this Urban Dictionary definition. This is apparently the earliest video warning people about the day.
Some people on are saying there’s a group of men who created a TikTok video encouraging others to sexually assault people on April 24th, but it’s unclear if this actually happened.
A spokesperson for TikTok told USA Today it has “not found evidence” of this original video on the platform.
Regardless, people posting videos are urging each other to stay vigilant and keep safe.
What are people saying about 24th April?
People started making TikTok videos, and now are also tweeting and sharing other posts on social media, urging women to stay inside on the day. People are also sharing ways to feel safer, such as walking with a friend.
However, people are having wider discussions around the shocking trend, talking about women’s safety, sexual assault and rape.
Whether 24th April is a rumour or a hoax, some people are still making “jokes” about it, and this is unacceptable. One TikTok video says: “Joke or not, that’s not funny”, whilst a Twitter user said: “If I see or hear any of my boys or anybody for that matter making jokes about April 24, it’s hands on sight. This shit is not fucking funny.”
If I see or hear any of my boys or anybody for that matter making jokes about April 24, it’s hands on sight. This shit is not fucking funny.
— Zeke (@Zach_Pope_) April 19, 2021
The April 24th rumours have spread to UK universities, too. At Exeter, rumours were circulating about a group chat of students with “a plan to rape as many girls as they can” on and around the day. The university has said it believes this to be a “hoax” from TikTok.
The uni advised students to “ignore” the threats, which it says are “designed to cause fear and to play on serious and genuine concerns regarding sexual assault”.
Devon and Cornwall Police told The Exeter Tab police are “currently making enquiries regarding the credibility of the group”. It also said the police believe the rumours are linked to the “international phenomenon.”
A TikTok spokesperson told USA Today: “Keeping our community safe is our priority, and we do not tolerate content that promotes or glorifies non-consensual sexual acts including rape and sexual assault. While we have not found evidence on our platform of any videos related to this subject, our safety team is remaining vigilant and we will remove content that violates our policies.”