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'National Rape Day' hoax trends online, prompts warnings

The 'National Rape Day' hoax first started trending in 2021. It has since popped up every year on April 24.
'National Rape Day' hoax trends online, prompts warnings
Posted at 9:31 AM, Apr 24, 2023

Warning: This story covers the topic of sexual assault. If you need to talk, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673, or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

A disturbing social media trend resurfaced again this year, and it's prompting warnings across the country. 

Videos online show people claiming April 24 is "National Rape Day." Fact-checking website Snopes determined this started in 2021 as a "tasteless joke" or "hoax."

Scripps News could not find an instance of a rape being tied to the day, but that hasn't stopped the fear or warnings.

The West Texas A&M Police Department issued a warning on April 19. 

"Officers are actively monitoring social media regarding the disturbing hoax around April 24th as ‘National Rape Day’, a trend spreading online warning people to protect themselves. 

SEE MORE: Sexual assault reports increase at US military academies

Warnings aren't just being issued in the U.S. Officials in the U.K. said the hoax has picked up steam there as well.

"The trend seems to be gathering momentum in North Yorkshire with a number of professionals hearing about concerns from young people across the county," said the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.

TikTok appears to have banned searches for "National Rape Day." A search of the topic takes users to a page that provides them with sexual assault resources and a link to contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline. However, users are still able to find videos about the topic by searching for topics like "national rate day" or "national r women day."

Videos on the topic vary from warnings to people letting others know it's a hoax and satirical content. Searching through dozens of videos, there did not appear to be any threatening videos.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 26 men have survived a rape or an attempted rape.

"We must keep fighting to make clear how important consent is and how sexual assault can be a crime," President Joe Biden said in a proclamation for the month. "And we must help survivors access safety, justice and healing."

SEE MORE: Texas ranked 15th most dangerous state for rape, sexual assault

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