The 97 Percent Challenge That You've Been Seeing All Over TikTok Has a Lot to Do With the Murder of Sarah Everard
March is Women’s History Month, but let’s be honest — women make history every day.
As divine forces that can only be stopped by Mother Nature, it’s safe to say that women are well-versed in the art of breaking records, but the latest statistic to surface on social media is nothing to be proud of. Instead, it's terrifying many women. Recently, the term "97 percent" has been floating around on TikTok, but what does it mean?
Here’s what you need to know about why you've been seeing "the 97 percent" all over TikTok.
In early March of 2021, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women released a report that revealed that 97 percent of women in the United Kingdom aged 18 to 24 have been victims of sexual harassment in public spaces.
The study, which was announced shortly after the disappearance and subsequent death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, inspired women across the globe to share their own stories of sexual assault or harassment under the hashtag #97percent.
While police have arrested Wayne Couzens in connection with Sarah’s murder, the young woman’s death hit home for a number of users on social media, inspiring an international movement.
With many using Cynthia Erivo’s “Stand Up” as the soundtrack to their videos, women took to TikTok to share what they were wearing at the time of their assault or harassment, while others addressed the assertion that “not all men” are predators.
One user wrote on Twitter, "If you immediately respond with 'not all men' rather than digest facts and information or actively think about how to be part of the solution, then you are in fact part of the problem. And don’t bother bringing up how ‘nice’ you are. I. Do. Not. Care.”
Another said, “PSA: Men, when a woman talks about her negative experiences with a man/men, responding with 'not all men' 1. Makes the conversation suddenly about you. 2. Derails the conversation and 3. Dismisses women's experiences.”
While it is true that not every man is guilty of sexual harassment, the report suggests that almost every woman has experienced it. As shocking as the recently released study is, many women can attest to receiving an unwarranted nude or catcall at some point in time. And despite these findings appearing to be jarring, the reality is that we've known the numbers of how many women are sexually assaulted or harassed is high.
A National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted in 2010 found that nearly one in five women have experienced rape at some point in their lives.
What qualifies as sexual assault or harassment?
As kids, our parents taught us the importance of saying “please and thank you,” but as an adults, we’ve come to learn that the magic word is consent. By law, sexual harassment can include rape, attempted rape, sexual contact, exhibitionism, peeping, and threats.
There are a range of behaviors that fall under the umbrella of assault, and bringing awareness to the topic is only the beginning of putting an end to this problem.
If you need support, The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673. You will be connected with a trained staff member in your area. Or visit RAINN.org to chat online with a support specialist at any time.