LUBBOCK, Texas — A disturbing new hoax trend has made its way around TikTok, and it deemed April 24 as ‘National Rape Day.’ Others across the app posting videos in response to warn people to be cautious and protect themselves this Saturday.
“It’s disturbing on so many different levels,” said Community Educator for Voice of Hope, Leslie Timmons.
While TikTok claims the original video promoting the idea never existed, videos that responded to the idea have become prevalent on the app.
“It’s important to not give power to ideas like that. It’s important to make sure survivors are being believed and supported and heard and their voices are the ones being uplifted this month,” said Programs Manager for Communications, Marketing and Design at Texas Tech University’s Risk Intervention & Safety Education (RISE), Ashley Rose Marino.
Lubbock Police released a statement regarding the issue saying: “The Lubbock Police Department is aware of this TikTok trend and we are actively monitoring social media…We encourage anyone who is a victim of a direct threat to make a report.”
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 80 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows, and Timmons doesn’t see this trend changing that.
“It’s not this stranger hiding out in an alley jumping out and grabbing someone. Most of the time it’s an acquaintance, a boyfriend, a caregiver,” said Timmons.
April is sexual assault awareness month, and despite this trend, Voice of Hope and RISE, said it is important to be aware of sexual assault and support survivors.
“Sexual assault is a problem everywhere, and Lubbock is not immune,” said Timmons.
One out of six women will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, according to RAINN.
According to Voice of Hope, there were over 450 cases of sexual assaults in the Hub City in 2019.
Timmons and Marino add that no matter what, survivors are not alone.
“When something like this happens to you, it can feel like the one thing that you have autonomy over, yourself, is taken away, but it hasn’t. That takes a lot of time to figure out but know that you do have support and you are not alone,” said Marino.
If you or someone you know has experienced an assault, Voice of Hope has a 24-hour crisis intervention hotline that can help. Call: 806-763-3232