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 recent years, TikTok users posted 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 @kelvindingle, for example, has been viewed more than 1.1 million times since it was posted on April 19, 2021.
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 @kelvindingle put it:
It's been brought to the law enforcement community that there's a possibility of a national rape day, which is supposedly [...] on the date of April 24. Ladies, please, whether it is truthful or not, I implore you to be safe. If in any way you have an uneasy feeling, what I need for you to do [...] scream at the very top of your lungs for assistance, for help. It is better to be safe than to be sorry. [...] Touch not any of our women without permission on this day or any day after this day because, if you do, we're coming for you, and we're going to prosecute you at the fullest extent of the law.
We have not been able to uncover any of the original videos that promoted this illicit holiday. When we reached out to TikTok in April 2021, 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. 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 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.
— Snopes Senior Assignments Editor Jessica Lee contributed to this report.