As parents learn to separate fun and harmless TikTok challenges from dumb or dangerous ones, a potentially troubling meme has emerged on the platform: National Rape Day. Users all over the platform are warning about April 24, when a group of men has allegedly pledged to initiate a wave of sexual assaults nationwide. The threat has caused a righteous backlash among TikTokers — but just how real is it?
Numerous TikTok users have warned of a video where a group of sexual predators announces plans to assault women and children on April 24.
“They literally came up with a date to go around and rape women and children,” one user said before urging TikTokers to protect themselves by any means necessary.
“Out of an abundance of caution, I think everyone just needs to try and stay home,” another user commented.
As of this writing, the hashtag #april24 has nearly 80 million views, with nearly all videos commenting on the controversy.
Warnings of the supposed “National Rape Day” have also made their way to Facebook, where some users share rumors that six men on TikTok orchestrated the threat.
Is National Rape Day Real?
While the meme has caused outrage online, some question whether the original video, and the threat it represents, really exists. Outlets including USA Today and Lead Stories have reported being unable to find evidence of the clip, with the former explicitly labeling the rumor “false.”
Likewise, TikTok spokespersons claim to have found no evidence of the original video on the platform.
“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,” the company said in a statement to press. “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.”
Whether or not the original video is real, the controversy has inspired a passionate stance against sexual assault online.
For more on the world of TikTok trends and challenges, check out Parentology‘s comprehensive guide for parents here.