It’s easy to dismiss TikTok trends as being silly, ridiculous or just plain dangerous. However, every so often a trend emerges that helps bring visibility to an urgent social issue. That’s the case with the new TikTok “97 percent challenge,” which aims to highlight the risk of sexual harassment young women everywhere face.
The Meaning of “97 Percent”
The “97 percent” part comes from a recent United Nations study of women in the United Kingdom. The study, published on March 10, showed that 97% of young women — aged 18 to 24 — had experienced public sexual harassment in some form.
The study surveyed 1,089 women across a variety of age ranges. In addition to the troubling revelation about young women, it also found that 71% of all women have been sexually harassed in public.
The study comes as the UK reels from the recent murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard. The young marketing executive disappeared while walking home in London on March 3. Police then found the missing woman’s body on Wednesay, March 10.
Authorities have since arrested Wayne Couzens, an officer with the London Metropolitan police, in the death. Couzens will face a trial for Everard’s death later this fall.
Following the news of Everard’s story and the shocking new study, TikTok users have taken to their feeds to spread the word about sexual assault. Rallying around the hashtag #97percent, women across the platform are sharing their harassment stories, chronicling their struggles for justice, and clapping back at guys who insist “not all men” are part of the problem.
The cause has gone viral on TikTok in the days following the study’s publication. As of March 19, the hashtag #97percent has gained 64 million views, while #saraheverard has been viewed over 173 million times.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re having difficulty watching the TikTok videos, we have another compilation video at the bottom of this post.]
Unfortunately, not all TikTok trends can be as important and enlightening as the 97 percent challenge. There is the “I had pasta tonight” trend that has continued to help people suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts. For a look at the less reputable side of TikTok challenges, check out Parentology’s guide here.