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A university football team has sparked a debate on social media after becoming chaperones for their fellow female students who were too scared to walk at night alone after seeing posts connected to a hoax called 'National Rape Day'.
Some people hailed the teammates as heroes whereas others asked if women should really need to be walked home at night.
On Friday a TikTok video, which showed a number of men promoting the idea of an annual sexual assault day for Saturday 24th April, circulated on the app.
Evidence of the video no longer exists on TikTok and a rep from the social media app told The Sun they did not see any evidence of it trending. However, many women did see the video and took to Twitter to express their concern.
Ben Marett, a 22-year-old Cardiff University student decided to take action to protect his fellow female students when they attended parties over the weekend. He asked 20 of his football teammates to act as chaperones, operating a text service from 9pm on Saturday night to 5am on Sunday morning, where women could ask for a chaperone. They helped 30 students get home safely.
While many people have praised the football team, some people have asked why such a 'service' shouldn't have to be done at all.
One woman commented on Instagram: "I can understand why we feel the need to hail these men as heroes but that in itself is a sad reflection of society. This isn't heroism, this is the bare minimum standard of decency for a world where it's unsafe for a woman to be alone at night."
Another woman said: "Thank you guys, from all womankind."
A man in the comments section congratulated the team but added that what they did 'shouldn't have to be done'. He said: "Aye fair play it's something that shouldn't have to be done but unfortunately there are some monsters out there. Good job boys."
More people said that the teammate's actions are a reflection of the poor state of the world, where women are not able to feel safe walking home at night.
"It should have never reached this stage ffs," said one man.
"They aren't heroes that's what all men should do lmaoo," added another Instagram user.
Ben also appeared in the comments section, adding: "We're definitely not heroes but are just doing our bit. Thank you for all the kind words."
Katie Russell, spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales told Tyla: "Regardless of its origins, or whether or not it was intended as a 'joke' at any point, the very concept of such a day is abhorrent and has caused many people, particularly women and girls, a great deal of understandable fear,"
She added: "This episode reminds us of the ongoing need for us to collectively challenge, resist and dismantle the damaging, sexist 'rape culture' that still exists in our society.
"We also must stress again that, however well-meaning, 'safety advice' aimed at women will not ultimately prevent or end sexual violence and abuse, or male violence against women and girls more broadly.
A rep for TikTok told The Sun last week: "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."
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