Chanel Contos, 24, has been recognised for her role as founder and CEO of ‘Teach Us Consent’, a movement lobbying for and providing holistic consent and sexuality education with the prestigious Diana Award earlier this week.
The young Greek Australian activist, has joined the pantheon of 180 changemakers from around the world to receive the accolade established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Presented by Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex the namesake charity awarded Contos for her work in “exposing pervasive misogynistic attitudes and behaviours within Australian schools through more than 6,700 testimonies from women and girls who have been sexually assaulted by men and boys”.
The announcement praised her for her efforts “to improve sexual education around consent, breaking cultures of silence around sexual harassment, abuse and rape culture. Her vision has created a fundamental shift in the mindset of all Australians. She has taken what was seen as a “woman’s problem” and created a solution based on the whole of society taking responsibility,” it said.
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 signed by 44,000 people, 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. The wave caused Labor to promise $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 as part of the Australian Curriculum Version 9.0
Lastly, Prince William himself thanked Contos for her “compassion, bravely and absolute determination”, adding that she is “the personification of my mother’s legacy”.
In a LinkedIn post, the Greek Australian activist said that she felt honoured and dedicated the award “to all young people who have been a part of the Teach Us Consent movement, and made consent education mandatory in Australia”.