Sexual assault: A hidden reality in some of the most prestigious schools in Sydney
Students at some of the most selective schools in Sydney have exposed more than 500 articles of horrendous descriptions of suspected sexual assaults.
In a damning series of testimonies, more than 500 shocking accounts of alleged sexual harassment at some of the most elite private schools in Sydney, including many high-profile alleged perpetrators, have been published.
Former Kambala student Chanel Contos told news.com.au that, after hearing numerous reports of sexual assaults through her network of friends when she was growing up, she built an anonymous online forum alongside a petition calling for early education regarding consent.
She discovered a twisted culture of normalized sexual harassment on a horrific scale at prestigious Sydney schools after posting a survey on social media and asking for testimonials from students and former students.
Many of the women say that their suspected abusers are from high-profile families in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, and one is now a high-profile investment banker.
A common thread running through the testimonies is that when they were heavily intoxicated, the girls were raped while unconscious or compelled to perform oral sex.
Others said that they were coerced to commit non-consensual sexual acts, including threesomes, forced consumption of alcohol, and waking up to be inappropriately touched by others.
The accounts repeatedly mention students from Scots College, Cranbrook, Sydney Grammar, Waverley College, Kambala, Kincoppal-Rose Bay, Monte Sant Angelo and Pymble Ladies' College.
One Kambala student said she found out that, when she was asleep, a Cranbrook boy put his penis in her mouth "as a joke" in front of a group of other boys.
A girl from Kambala wrote about an incident in 2014 in another chilling testimony: "I had a few drinks and was dancing by myself and he approached me and took me to a room and eventually he pushed my head down and forced me to perform oral sex on him. I was unwilling and refused, but he kept pushing my head down."
Only when my mom called to say she was outside to pick me up was I spared. For a very long time, I haven't told anybody and only told my brother a month ago.
A student at Willoughby Girls High School wrote about her experiences at a party in 2019 where she was assaulted.
He began hooking up with me, then he began to take things further, and I begged him to stop, but things escalated and he raped me. And it happened with another guy at the same party again later.
At a Halloween party, the same thing happened again, and I blame myself for it every day. Unfortunately, for three months, it continued with this boy until I was put in the hospital.
An incident in 2015 was identified by a former Ascham student.
When I was 16, I was wasted at a blackout party and the next day I woke up with no recollection. Days later, rumors started to spread that I had a threesome with two Scots boys,' she said.
I couldn't even protect myself with no memory, while groups of Scots boys called me a sl*t and sent me anonymous social media hate messages, one going so far as to say I could kill myself. I know now that I could not have consented, even if it had happened.
One former student of Loreto said they woke up "completely naked the next day" after blacking out drunk.
"They said, "I discovered that morning that his friend had filmed him performing oral sex on me when I was barely aware.
The respondent says several private school boys have been shown the video.
"I still don't know if that's all that happened that night between him and me, but I feel like he had sex with me," the woman said.
"To add to this, one of my very best male friends was the boy who filmed it."
Ms Contos, who is now living in London, told news.com.au that she had taken a "heavy emotional toll" from reading the hundreds of testimonies, but she was not completely surprised by what she uncovered.
She said, "It's just scratching the surface, I know there's more." "These experiences stay with us, they don't go away, and it's not fair that thousands more girls are going to have them."
She said the petition's goal was to advocate for improved sex education and consent in high schools across Australia.
"This isn't just something happening at private schools in Sydney, it's a lot bigger," she said.
She said that for the first time in year 10, Kambala provided her with "life changing" consent training.
"It was too late, however, and it came with the tough realization that almost half of my friends had already been raped or sexually assaulted by boys from neighboring schools," she said.
She started the petition last week, calling for holistic sexuality education earlier in the curriculum, and it was created in response to what started as an informal Instagram survey. A basic question was asked by the Instagram poll:
If you live in Sydney, have you ever witnessed sexual harassment from someone who went to the All Boys School, or someone close to you? ”
The survey got 1200 views in less than 24 hours, almost 300 responses, and 72 percent of people said yes.
"When asked, "If you went to school for all boys, do you think any of your friends have sexually abused someone? Fifty-five percent of boys responded with a "yes" response.
She is now saying that the campaign is gathering traction. She is in negotiations with MPs and very soon has plans to launch a website.
The petition, with a strong letter, has also been sent to the principals of some of the schools listed in the testimonies.
The majority of signatories to this petition have been graduating from your schools for a long time. Most are now with their high school days just a distant memory at university or in their early years of the workforce,' Ms Contos said.
"Yet, for younger generations, they recommend having an education that they have either been deprived of or earned far too late. This highlights the long-lasting effects that sexual harassment leaves not just on the victim, but also on their peers and the broader community at a young age.
Many who signed this petition have done so because they are sad and frustrated that they have not received enough information on what sexual harassment amounts to and what to do when it occurs.
"These are uncomfortable conversations to have with young adolescents, but living knowing that something happened to you, or a friend, or perhaps that you were even the perpetrator of it, is far more uncomfortable, and might have been prevented."
In the testimonials for comment, News.com.au has reached out to all the schools repeatedly listed.
Only Waverley College has replied so far.
Waverley College abhors violence, and for their actions, any student who commits abuse deserves the fullest consequences. And anyone who covers
Abuse is guilty of allowing sick behaviour to go unaddressed, and they should also face repercussions, said Mr. Graham Leddie, principal, in a statement.
Our mission is not only to ensure that students have a safe environment, but to teach students to learn.
As people, they are responsible for constantly maintaining healthy environments for others.
A culture of reverence must be instilled and strengthened in boys from their earliest days at home,
In all their education. Every individual has the right to feel protected.
Meanwhile, Dr Ian Lambert, the Principal of The Scots College, presented the accusations to parents and staff in an email.
Dr Lambert said, "I am deeply saddened that these young women experienced such trauma and had to resort to this public call for help." "For both of us, it's a wake up call. For their courage in standing up and speaking out, they are to be thanked.
The College will continue to provide resources and be an important part of the solution, in collaboration with students and families.
Currently at The Scots College, as part of the PDHPE and Christian Studies curriculum in the Senior School from year 7, the topic of safe and respectful relationships is taught. In the Year 8 and Year 10 curriculum, consent is expressly dealt with. A comparable age-relevant approach is in place in the younger and early years. For education programs from Cubs and Lions through to the end of Preparatory School, the Year 6 Awesome Me curriculum is being updated.
The Scots culture must promote open communication both at home and at school about the principles and form of conduct that is appropriate and not acceptable. It is really important to have clear, frequent and open discussion.