The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is joining a chorus of law enforcement agencies, Facebook, TikTok and other social media platforms to add discredit to the repugnant claim of a “National Rape Day” on April 24 that has been proven to be a hoax but that continues to circulate.
The obnoxious claim is that laws against sexual assault would be suspended on April 24, enabling attacks without consequences. “Millions of social media users have viewed or shared reactions to the perceived threat on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter,” the Flagler Sheriff’s Office stated this morning in a release.
The announcement of the “day” is supposed to have originated on TikTok, but neither TikTok nor fact-checking sites such as Snopes have located such videos, suggesting that warnings about the non-existent video may have turned into viral mechanisms causing unnecessary fear and confusion.
“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,” Snopes reports, quoting a TikTok spokesperson: “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.”
Snopes reports that the same hoax has been around for several years, with reference to the “day” in question found at the Urban Dictionary since 2018.
The claim has provoked occasional derivations, as when a high school student in Iron County, Utah, posted an item threatening to make good on the day, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “The photo was originally posted on the Snapchat app on Monday. Screenshots of it have since been shared widely across several platforms, gaining widespread attention in what is supposed to be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” the paper reported. The caption on the photograph: “We’re coming. April 24th. BE ready. You can run. But you can’t hide ………”
“Sexual assault in any form is a serious criminal act that will not be tolerated,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “All claims will be vigorously investigated and all perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions. We ask all residents and visitors to call 9-1-1 immediately in the event of an emergency or call the non-emergency line 386-313-4911 to report any suspicious activity. If you are ever in fear or danger, do not hesitate to call upon us. We are here for you.”
In Flagler County, report suspicious activity to the Sheriff’s Office immediately by calling 911 for an emergency or 386-313-4911 for a non-emergency. You can also send information to [email protected] or download the Flagler County Sheriff’s mobile application in the App Store or on Google Play. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube for the most up-todate information. Anyone seeking support for sexual assault can contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which is available 24/7 at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673) or visit the hotline.RAINN.org to chat online with a trained staff member who can provide confidential crisis support.