Why Is April 24 Trending on TikTok? Here Are the Disturbing Details for Parents and Women To Know

As TikTok has risen in popularity, so have dangerous challenges. There was the injury-inducing milk crate climbing and the NyQuil Chicken recipe that prompted an FDA warning. And others, like the fake-but-concerning "Slap a Teacher" and last fall's dark Back to School Necklace trend. 

Unfortunately, there's another one raising alarm bells. TikTokers are warning one another about a troubling new trend related to April 24. The date is over three weeks from April Fools' Day and just two days after Earth Day (April 22). But it's nothing worth laughing about or celebrating. Here's what to know about the sinister meaning behind the date, whether it's real or a hoax and what to do if you are concerned for your physical or mental health.

What is happening on April 24—according to the trend?

According to TikTokers, April 24 is "National Rape Day." It's absolutely not a recognized holiday. It's unclear how the idea started. A USA Today article from 2021 reported that the trend could likely be traced back to a video created by six men in April 2021 that urged others to commit sexual assaults on April 24. The fact-checkers at USA Today didn't find evidence then, but users have continued to talk about it as rumors swirled last year as well and users are again raising alarm bells ahead of the date this year. 

Notably, April is actually Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is dedicated to advocating, educating, preventing and healing from sexual assault.

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Is there any truth to the disturbing April 24 trend?

Thankfully, there isn't any evidence pointing to a rise in the threat of sexual assault on April 24. 

In USA Today's 2021 report, neither the fact checkers nor TikTok found any validity to rumors that people were going to heed any encouragement to commit a sexual assault that day. 

A TikTok spokesperson also shared with Newsweek, "While we have not found evidence on our platform of any videos related to this subject, our safety team is remaining vigilant and we will remove content that violates our policies."

However, users are still concerned about the rumors. One TikToker expressed her fear about her commute on this day, saying, "It's on a school day too, and I have to walk."

Another user shared, "People are talking about it again this year. Teenage boys talking about how much fun that night will be. Makes me sick to my stomach."

The details behind the April 24 trend are incredibly triggering to many individuals as well. "I'm scared... I'm an SA survivor myself and I am scared of experiencing that again or anyone else going through that experience," posted one user. 

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Here's how to report TikTok videos promoting violence

Whether it's April 24 or not, it's a good idea to know how to report TikTok videos that threaten violence. According to TikTok, here's how to report disturbing videos from your phone:

  1. Open the app.

  2. Go to the video that concerns you.

  3. Press on the video. Hold.

  4. A dropdown will appear. Select "report."

  5. Follow TikTok's instructions.

To report a video from your computer:

  1. Go to the video.

  2. On the bottom right, you will see three dots. Click them.

  3. Select "report" from the dropdown menu.

  4. Follow the instructions.

TikTok also has an online form people can use to flag content, including videos promoting violence—like sexual assault. 

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How to protect yourself and others from sexual assault

April 24 may be a disturbing rumor. But it's clearly concerning people, and giving rise to conversations about what to do if you're afraid for yourself or someone else.

The first step is to move to a safe location, advises Dr. Lisa Lawless, Ph.D., a former rape crisis counselor. Then, put together any evidence you have.

"Document everything you can so that you have as much information as possible about what has happened," says Dr. Lawless. "If you have pictures, screenshots or text messages, keep them."

Though reporting and blocking content on social media is a way to protect yourself physically and mentally, the process to get videos removed can take time.

"If there is an imminent danger, you can call 911," says Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, a licensed transpersonal psychologist and author. "If they are college students, forwarding the videos to college security can also be helpful."

If you're concerned for someone else, speak up.

"Pick up and call them," Dr. Rhodes says. "Simply ask if they need support and if they feel safe."

Giving them nonjudgemental space to confide in you could be critical to helping them. 

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Protect your peace online

The discussion around April 24 is not only concerning—it's triggering.

"When survivors are triggered, many don't realize it is happening until they are fully past emotional discomfort," Dr. Lawless says. "They may think that what they are viewing is not impacting them as strongly as it is by rationalizing that they are not really at risk again or that they can handle it."

Dr. Lawless suggests talking it out.

"Whether or not becoming triggered sneaks up on you or not, it is essential to talk to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional about these feelings, as isolating will only cause them to be worse," she says.

You also have resources, such as a local rape crisis center, which you can find online.

"They have crisis counselors on call 24/7 to assist you," Dr. Lawless says. "You can find free or low-cost local counseling services that can help you."

Dr. Lawless also notes The National Domestic Violence Hotline. The number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).