What do we know?
It’s unclear how this got started. A USA Today article from 2021 reported that the trend could likely be traced back to a video created by six men in April 2021 that urged others to commit sexual assaults on April 24. The fact-checkers at USA Today didn’t find evidence then of a specific video, but users have continued to talk about it as rumours swirled last year as well and users are again raising alarm bells ahead of the date this year.
Thankfully, there isn’t any evidence pointing to a rise in the threat of sexual assault on April 24.
In USA Today’s 2021 report, neither the fact checkers nor TikTok found any validity to rumours that people were going to heed any encouragement to commit a sexual assault that day.I
It goes without saying that rape and all forms of sexual violence and abuse are traumatic experiences that can and do have wide-ranging and long-lasting impacts and are never appropriate topics to ‘joke’ about. Rape and sexual assault are always serious crimes.
However well-meaning, ‘safety advice’ aimed at women and girls will not ultimately prevent or end sexual violence and abuse, or male violence against women and girls more broadly. 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, joke about, normalise or commit this violence.
Men and boys can play a vital role by challenging the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of other men and boys and raising awareness about the damaging impact violence against women and girls has on society.
Support is available
For some, the discussion around April 24 is not only concerning — it’s triggering.
When survivors are triggered, many don’t realize it is happening until they are fully past emotional discomfort. They may think that what they are viewing is not impacting them as strongly as it is or that they can handle it.
Whether or not becoming triggered sneaks up on you or not, you could try talk to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional about these feelings, as isolating may only cause them to be worse.
Specialist support organisations
Specialist support organisations exist to help those who have experienced abuse. They can listen and guide you with whatever you need and many of them are confidential.
If you’re not sure who to speak to you can find more information about a range of specialist support agencies at the Get support | ENOUGH website.
Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland (RCTN) is a charity that provides services to women and girls who live, work or study in Tyneside and Northumberland. They are completely independent of the criminal justice system including the police and their services are free and confidential.
They are for all women including, but not limited to, women who identify as Lesbian, Bi, Trans and/or Questioning; Black and Minoritised women, Refugee women; and disabled women. Their definition of women-only includes Trans women and non-binary people who identify that women’s services are right for them. They are here for women and girls who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives.
Their free Helpline number is 0800 035 2794 and is available Monday – Thursday (6pm – 8.30pm). You can access more information at their website https://rctn.org.uk/.
Rape Crisis England & Wales is a charity working to end sexual violence and abuse.
They are a service for anyone aged 16+ in England and Wales who has been affected by rape, child sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment or any other form of sexual violence – at any point in their life.
This includes people who have experienced sexual violence or abuse themselves, as well as their friends, family or anyone else who is trying to support them.
They offer the free and confidential 24/7 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Line and will take calls at any time of the day or night. You can call on 0808 500 2222 or you can visit their website for other ways to contact them at 247sexualabusesupport.org.uk.
Reporting TikTok videos promoting violence
Whether it’s April 24 or not, it’s a good idea to know how to report TikTok videos that threaten violence, here’s how.
To report disturbing videos from your phone:
- Open the app.
- Go to the video that concerns you.
- Press on the video. Hold.
- A dropdown will appear. Select “report.”
- Follow TikTok’s instructions.
To report a video from your computer:
- Go to the video.
- On the bottom right, you will see three dots. Click them.
- Select “report” from the dropdown menu.
- Follow the instructions.
- TikTok also has an online form people can use to flag content, including videos promoting violence—like sexual assault.