Thousands of schoolgirls have shared their horrific tales of alleged rape and assault at the hands of teenage boys from Australia’s most elite schools.
Chanel Contos, 22, has collected the testimonies of former and current students who claim they were abused at the hands of boyfriends or other male pupils.
The testimonies emerged after the former Kambala School student launched a petition demanding improved sex education in private schools.
Their harrowing stories have revealed many of the alleged sexual assault victims blamed themselves for what happened – and only learned years later the truth about their experiences.
Disturbing stories of alleged rape and sexual assault have shown the lack of awareness of consent by young girls as they only realise they were assaulted years later. Pictured: Chanel Contos started a petition to address rape culture within schools
A petition by former private schoolgirl Ms Contos (pictured right) has shown testimonies of thousands of students who did not know they had been assaulted, many blamed themselves and some were even slut-shamed by their own friends
After the petition went viral, Ms Contos collected testimonials of alleged assaults which are displayed anonymously on a new website
One student thought it was her fault she was allegedly raped in an Uber because she had agreed to share it with her alleged attacker, who went to a private school in Sydney.
‘As we arrived at his [house] he told me to get out of the car. I told him I just wanted to go home … I didn’t want to have sex,’ she claimed.
‘He continued to take my clothes off and proceeded to have sex with me. I cried during it.
‘I was disgusted with myself that I let it happen. I for months after felt like it was my own silly mistake for giving him the wrong impression for just sharing an Uber with him.’
Another girl told a harrowing story of being allegedly orally raped at age 15 by a Sydney Grammar boy but not telling anyone because she felt like she was being ‘over dramatic’.
‘He took me into a room and I was heavily intoxicated. I was so sick I couldn’t sit up and I was lying down while he put his penis in my mouth,’ she said.
‘I was in and out of consciousness.
‘What shocks me the most is that I had no idea what to do or who to tell and felt that if I was to tell an adult I would be acting over dramatic. I was so confused about what happened and felt very powerless.’
Former Kambala High School student Ms Contos (pictured) wants school to teach consent to girls and boys in younger years
A Canberra woman said her parents did not believe her when she was allegedly gang raped
A Canberra woman said her parents did not believe her when she told them about an alleged gang sexual assault that happened when she was only 15.
‘I was drugged and sexually assaulted at a party when I was 15 by two 18-year-old private school boys. I never went to the police because it had been drilled into my head that it was my fault for wearing what I wore and no one would believe me,’ she said.
‘When I finally told my parents the first question they asked was ”are you making this up?”’
More than $30.6million has been paid to 131 survivors who were assaulted before 1989 Pictured: Ms Contos (pictured) who said she was forced to perform oral sex on a boy in Year 8
Ms Contos (pictured) said many school-aged boys often didn’t even realise what they’d done constituted sexual assault
Ms Contos said Kambala High School (pictured) gave her a ‘great consent education but they gave it too late’
The testimonies come as government figures revealed school students were paid nearly $40million in compensation after being sexually assaulted over the past two decades.
The data follows more than 2,000 young women sharing harrowing stories of sexual abuse at the hands of their first boyfriends or older schoolboys after a petition calling for better sex education in schools went viral.
New South Wales Department of Education figures showed the state government paid $9.4million to 40 survivors in 2019 after time limits on reporting sexual assaults were lifted three years earlier.
The total given to victims in 2019 is more than double the $4.4million paid in compensation in 2016 before the law was changed.
Three-quarters of the compensation paid in the last 20 years was given to 131 survivors who were assaulted before 1989.
A website was launched by Ms Contos detailing the stories of sexual abuse from more than 1,500 students and former students
President of The Blue Knot Foundation Dr Cathy Kezelman said compensation helps ‘acknowledge’ crimes of childhood sexual abuse – while not making up for it
Childhood trauma charity The Blue Knot Foundation welcomed the payouts for recognising the trauma of students who had been sexually assaulted at school.
‘Compensation does not make up for a childhood betrayed but it can be an acknowledgment of the crime committed,’ the charity’s president Dr Cathy Kezelman told The Daily Telegraph.
The latest data conducted by La Trobe University in 2018 suggests 23 per cent of students in grades 10 to 12 (ages about 16 to 18) have had some form of unwanted sexual contact.
Jacqueline Hendriks, who runs Curtin University’s sexology curriculum, said young people need to be taught how to have ‘really positive, enjoyable sexual relationships’ in school.
‘At the moment, schools can get away with doing the bare minimum,’ Dr Hendriks said.
‘We need to keep up with the times… Ideally, we want to teach young people to have really positive, enjoyable sexual relationships.’
SCHOOL RESPONSES TO THE PETITION
St Catherine’s School
Headmistress Dr Julie Townsend said the testimonials were ‘heartbreaking’.
‘It is clear from these girls’ testimonies that many of them have suffered in silence for years, and we need to ensure that, not only do they understand what assault is, but know their rights in reporting it and charging someone,’ she said.
Principal Shane Hogan said he will give information to parents about consent and respectful relationships.
‘[We are] commending the bravery of the young women to call out this behaviour and calling on any Kambala girls or old girls who have experienced this to contact us to access our on campus counselling support and support.’
Brisbane Girls Grammar School
Principal Jacinda Euler said ‘the accounts published are extremely distressing’.
‘They graphically highlight the need for us all to do more. There must be a determination to ensure that the stories of these girls and young women bring about urgent collaborative change,’ she said.
Principal Nicholas Sampson said schools ‘need to take further action’ and pledged to review of the school’s pastoral care, including holding mixed gender education programs.
‘All of us at Cranbrook need to be grateful for the courage of these young women in speaking out,’ he wrote, linking to the petition. ‘Society makes it very hard to raise issues of this type.’
Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview
Principal Dr Paul Hine said the school ‘fully supports’ the allegations against students being referred to the police.
‘Non-consensual sex is a crime and this message is given unequivocally to our students as part of their education,’ he said.
The Scots College
Dr Ian Lambert, wrote to parents and said the school would review its education programs.
‘It is a wake-up call for us all,’ he said. ‘They are to be commended for their bravery in standing up and speaking out.
Sexism is an everyday reality for women, and it absolutely should not be,’ Principal Graham Leddie said.
‘Often it’s the seemingly small acts that are overlooked, dismissed or ignored. “Boys will be boys”, shouldn’t mean what it does in Australian culture.’
Brisbane Boys College Brisbane
‘The content of the petition is concerning and a stark reminder of society’s collective responsibility to educate young men and women on the topic of consent,’ Headmaster Paul Brown said.