Founder of the online petition ‘Teach Us Consent’ , Chanel Contos is demanding consent education reform in Australian schools. Contos, features in the new Australian campaign aimed at ending injustice and inequity for women.
The ‘Safety. Respect. Equity.’ video aired drawing on International Women’s Day and calls for systemic reform in the areas of sexual harassment, domestic violence and consent education.
Contos who launched the ‘Teach Us Consent‘ petition/movement with the vision to demolish rape culture in Australia was tired of constantly hearing about her friends’ experiences of sexual abuse, calling for a mandated inclusion of consent education in Australian schools.
Following her petition, hundreds of former Sydney schoolgirls shared their experiences with sexual assault last year while Contos worked closely with the Australian Government at both State and Federal levels to raise awareness.
“I have lived in three different countries and I have never spoken to anyone who has experienced rape culture the way me and my friends had growing up in Sydney amongst private schools,” she said.
Chanel believes that consent education should be taught earlier, more holistically, and include concepts such as slut shaming, toxic masculinity, sexual coercion, enthusiastic consent, and queer sex education.
The Greek Australian activist, who has been featured on BBC, CNN, SBS, The New York Times, Vogue, The Guardian and more, appears saying that “now is the time to educate the future generations of Australians on equality for all women”.
Following Chanel’s petition which which was signed by 44,000 people, Labor has promised $77m for schools to teach students about respect and relationships. The program will involve training teachers on how to best talk to students in an age appropriate way about respect and relationships, while ensuring students and families who’ve experienced violence get the help they need.
“2021 wasn’t the first year that Australian women were harassed or unsafe or violated or ignored or disrespected… and it wasn’t the first year that women spoke up,” is the message in the video.
Contos appears alongside personalities the likes of Grace Tame, Julia Banks, Christine Holgate, Brittany Higgins, Lucy Turnbull, Madison de Rozario, Michele O’Neil, Larissa Behrendt, Yasmin Poole, Wendy McCarthy and Georgie Dent, while many other women who were not able to be visible contributed to the project.