TikTok trend has victim advocates concerned

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 4:37 PM CDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Some on the social media app TikTok have declared this Saturday to be a disturbing unofficial national day, known as ‘National Rape Day’.

There are hundreds of videos discussing the topic, mostly denouncing the people responsible for starting the ‘trend’, and it’s all taking place during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Related story: Resources in Marion County for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

“Matter of fact, this week exactly is Victim Rights Week and I think for people to think that it’s okay, even on social media, people say a lot of things of social media, to think that t’s okay to say that is just reprehensible,” ASO Public Information Office, Art Forgey said.

Victim advocates in Marion County said there are roughly 100 cases of sexual assault reported a year.

The Ocala Police Department has a team that helps victims through the process.

“The officer and victim advocates and detectives work as a team, so we’re very victim centered and we want them to know that if they need help or support through that process working through any fears that they may have or barriers to service that we can deal with that,” OPD Victim Advocate Supervisor, Donna Guinn said.

But officials said victims can still receive help even if they don’t want to file a police report.

They can also get help at the Ocala Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center.

“The trauma from sexual assault lasts a long time so hopefully this is just talk and nothing is going to come to fruition, but on the chance that it does, we do offer free services, licensed counseling, we have groups that meet here on Wednesday, you’re not alone,” Victim Advocate at the Ocala Sexual Assault Center, Bonnie Tieche said.

So if you do decide to go out this weekend, officials say to have a plan - share your location with someone you trust, watch your drink and plan to go home with the friends you went out with.

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