This article will examine some of the claims concerning a "National Rape Day" or "National Sexual Assault Day" — an alleged holiday that would legalize rape for 24 hours on April 24. To be clear, there is not a holiday in the United States or elsewhere that legalizes sexual assault at all, or for any time period. Rape and sexual assault are crimes, and will continue to be crimes on April 24.
In April 2021, TikTok users started to post warnings of an upcoming "National Rape Day" or "National Sexual Assault Day" that would legalize sexual assault for 24 hours on April 24. The following video from @la.tania.ftn2, for example, has been viewed more than 1.5 million times since it was posted on April 17.
This video, as well as several other videos warnings about this "National Rape Day," are responding to an alleged video that was supposedly circulating on TikTok that promoted this holiday. As @la.tania.ftn2 put it:
I just saw a video on tiktok and i had to make a video myself ... because I need to make sure that you guys are aware that there's a video going around Tiktok of disgusting men ... and they literally came up with a date to go around and rape women and children.
We have not been able to uncover any of the the original videos that promoted this illicit holiday. When we reached out to TikTok, a spokesperson told us that the supposed "National Rape Day" is abhorrent, but that they have not seen videos promoting this "holiday" trending on their platform.
A spokesperson said:
"The supposed 'National Rape Day' trend being reported upon is abhorrent and would be a direct violation of our Community Guidelines, and while we haven't seen evidence of this trending on our platform, our safety team remains vigilant and would remove any such content."
The spokesperson added that any content that "promotes, normalizes or glorifies non-consensual sexual acts or non-consensual touching, including rape and sexual assault" would violate the social network's community guidelines and would be promptly removed.
While it doesn't appear that videos promoting this illicit holiday are currently available on TikTok, it should be noted that rumors about a "National Rape Day" were not new to 2021. This "joke" or "prank" or "hoax" campaign has been around for several years.
Archived pages from Urban Dictionary, a repository for internet slang, shows entries for "National Rape Day" dating back to 2018.
Urban Dictionary has since deleted the above-displayed entries. The current entry for this term reads:
National rape day is shit. It was made by horny males, who think rape is funny.
If you think rape is cool, your going to hell. Rape is f-çk1ng gross, for one. It's also disrespectful, and if you rape somebody, I won't see you in heaven. -A bisexual girl, who has been raped.
While we certainly won't advise against being cautious, it should be noted that there doesn't appear to be an active campaign to promote this alleged holiday. The vast majority of content being produced about this "National Rape Day" are reaction videos. Furthermore, in the three years since the earliest post on Urban Dictionary, we have not seen any reports of an actual sexual assault crime connected to this nonexistent holiday.
In short, "National Rape Day" started as a tasteless internet "joke" or "hoax," and there doesn't appear to be an active campaign to promote this holiday in earnest. It is worth repeating, however, that rape and other forms of sexual assault are and will continue to be crimes regardless of what an internet meme has to say about it.