What is the ’97 Percent’ on TikTok? Sexual harassment statistic explained

Ellissa Bain

A new TikTok trend sees everyone talking about ’97 percent’, but what does it mean?

As you’ve been scrolling through TikTok, you’ve probably seen a lot of videos related to ‘97%’.

The trend first went viral in March 2021 but has now resurfaced in 2022 as it spreads such an important message.

Read on to find out what the ‘97%’ trend is all about…

What is the ’97 Percent’ on TikTok?

When people make videos about being ‘part of the 97%’, they are referring to a sexual harassment statistic.

An investigation by UN Women UK released on March 10th 2021 found that 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed.

This shocking statistic means that almost all of the UK female population has experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space.

The study also found that a further 96% of women did not report the harassment because they thought it would not change anything.

The ’97 percent’ TikTok trend sees social media users talking about their experiences of being part of that 97% and raising awareness of the harassment that women face on a daily basis.

Origins of the trend

The ‘97%’ TikTok trend is a reaction to the murder of a UK woman called Sarah Everard.

On March 3rd 2021, 33-year-old Sarah Everard vanished after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, London, to walk home. However, she never made it back to her home in Brixton, a 50-minute walk away.

A week later, her body was found in a woodland area in Kent, and Met police officer Wayne Couzens was sentenced to life in prison for her kidnap, rape and murder.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Sarah’s death sparked a social media movement as other women began to share their experiences of feeling unsafe or receiving harassment whilst alone.

The 97 percent trend on TikTok is part of this movement, seeing women voicing their safety fears online in an attempt to ensure that everyone understands just how dangerous the streets can be for women.

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‘Not all men’ gets backlash

The ‘97%’ trend also sees women expressing backlash towards the phrase ‘not all men’.

Following Sarah Everard’s death, a number of men expressed their support for women on social media, asking what they can do to make women feel safer. However, this isn’t the case for everyone.

Some men began spreading the hashtag #NotAllMen to try and explain that it’s not all men who make women feel unsafe or assault them and is only a minority.

However, this view has been criticised for taking the limelight away from women. Instead of being defensive, women have argued that men need to be supportive and help tackle the problem.

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