How Sarah Everard's killing sparked the "97%" movement on TikTok

·2-min read
Vigils have been held to pay tribute to Sarah Everard who was murdered as she walked home in London.

Her name was Sarah Everard. The tragic fate of this young British woman has moved people the world over. It has even sparked the "97%" movement on TikTok. In fact, 97% refers to the percentage of young women in the UK who have experienced sexual harassment, according to a recent survey. Raising the issue of women's safety, Sarah's killing spurred many internet users to share their own experiences of harassment on TikTok, notably by revealing the clothing they were wearing when they were attacked.

The #SarahEverard hashtag totals over 147.6 million views on TikTok. The 33-year-old's killing at the beginning of March led to a wave of anger on social media. TikTok has often been used as a platform for denouncing discrimination and violence, such as that directed at the Asian community or transgender people . This time, web users have been using the platform to pay tribute to Sarah Everard: "rest in peace sarah. your death marks a turning point for us. things need to change and it's not women that are the problem," wrote the user @elleflorencecarroll alongside a video that has gained over 1.4 million likes and 4.5 million views.

On Twitter, the case also gave rise to the #NotAllMen hashtag -- an expression often used as an excuse by men, minimizing the words of the victims in question. On TikTok, certain male users, such as the influencer @nolimitsmedia , spoke up to call out the stupidity of using this expression, which can prove frustrating for victims. With over 835,000 followers, his video has been watched 1.2 million times.

In his video, the young British TikToker calls on "all men" to "do better" and to listen to women and stop trying to use their clothing as an excuse. In fact, these accusations are still all too commonly used to "justify" sexual harassment. Recently, a survey from UN Women UK revealed that 97% of women age 18 to 24 in the UK said they had been sexually harassed. This figure has become something of a symbol on the Chinese social networking platform, used as a way of denouncing all kinds of sexual assault, whether reported or not reported, and whether experienced by women or men. Many users have also shared photos of the clothing they were wearing when they were assaulted, showing that clothing isn't a factor in assault, just like it wasn't for Sarah Everard. The "97percent" hashtag now totals over 25.5 million views and is often accompanied by the Cynthia Erivo track, "Stand Up."

Sabrina Alili