Devon and Cornwall Police are investigating the existence of an alleged Falmouth WhatsApp group promoting a “national day” for sexual assault.
The so-called “Rape Day” trend reportedly started on the social media platform TikTok, and proponents claim that on 24 April it will be legal to commit sexual assault.
According to messages seen by the Anchor, a local group chat of over 100 people, including students from Falmouth University, planned a competition to sexually assault the most women on or around 24 April.
Although the existence and nature of this alleged group is unconfirmed, locals and students in Falmouth and Penryn have been spreading and condemning the rumours on social media. Some female students have allegedly expressed a desire to travel home from campus in light of the threat.
Devon and Cornwall Police have denied a rumour that authorities have made arrests related to the alleged group.
A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Police have received a report of the existence of the WhatsApp group and are currently making enquiries regarding the credibility of the group.”
A spokesperson for Falmouth University said: “We have become aware of a number of messages and social media posts circulating in relation to an abhorrent TikTok “24 April Hoax” encouraging sexual violence.
“There is no evidence that reports of these posts and purported related discussions are genuine, or that there is a genuine threat, but it is clear that the issue is causing distress to our community and we therefore want to make clear that we are taking this issue seriously.
“We are actively working with the Police to support their investigations and the University will take a zero-tolerance approach to anyone found participating in any related group chats (whether private or public), or engaging with the content in a way that could reasonably be foreseen to cause distress or emotional harm, whether intended or not.”
A first-year female student told the Anchor: “It’s a very scary time, and a lot of my girl friends are finding it emotionally draining. I had someone come to me today crying because they’re so terrified!”