Chilling story shows dark porn problem in schools
Among the accounts of alleged rape and sexual assault at some of Sydney's most elite private schools shared this week by former and current students, one was particularly disturbing.
The story, one of more than 2500 testimonies from girls about their experiences with male students - including some as young as 13 - highlights a serious issue.
Many of the stories describe a toxic culture, particularly in Sydney's private all-boys schools, where students would allegedly rape or assault girls from other private schools at parties.
Victims describe how they were allegedly assaulted while unconscious or forced to perform oral sex while they were severely intoxicated.
Others said they were pressured to perform non-consensual sexual acts, including threesomes, forced alcohol consumption, and waking up to being touched by someone inappropriately.
They emerged after a petition from former student of Sydney's Kambala girls' school Chanel Contos calling for consent to be taught to teenagers went viral.
A story that stands out is from a girl who was allegedly raped by her seemingly loving boyfriend, who seemed to be 'inspired' by his long-term exposure to hardcore pornography from a young age.
The teenager, who is still studying at the unnamed Sydney private school, said she had quite a "serious relationship" with the boy who she claimed ultimately raped her several times.
"While being together - we chose to have sex very young," she said.
"Being so young I wasn't educated at all at that point about consent. One thing that I found with my boyfriend was that boys are exposed to porn much earlier than they even have their first kiss.
"From this, my boyfriend often had preconceived ideas of what sex should look like, sound like and feel like.
She said this included her boyfriend pushing her head down when she performed a sex act on him, and he would continue because it was "funny".
"We were in love so I continued," she said.
He began to put her in uncomfortable positions that he had seen from porn websites, she said.
"When I would ask him to stop while I was heavily breathing, he believed I was being 'sexy and playful' and he would keep going and I didn't know how to stop it. I didn't know how to stop it. And he guilt-tripped me for stopping.
"He would make me feel guilty - saying I was giving him 'blue balls' and should continue because I was putting him in so much pain."
After another incident she said she was in pain for days and "unable to sit down and go to the toilet comfortably for days".
"This whole situation makes me feel so violated as he was someone I cared for deeply."
In another testimony, a girl from a private school on Sydney's north shore said she ended up on a porn website herself when she was allegedly assaulted after passing out at a party.
She said a fellow female student videoed herself performing a sex act on her, before uploading the video to a porn website.
Responding to the hundreds of disturbing testimonies uncovered in the petition, the principal from one Sydney private school mentioned several times said it was clear easy access to porn was perhaps the most "pernicious and undermining" influence on his students.
In response to the petition, the headmaster of Cranbrook School in the city's eastern suburbs, Nicholas Sampson said schools "need to take further action".
"We are aware of the rapidly changing contours of adolescence and the potential for damage brought by a combination of forces such as easily available alcohol, illicit drugs, a lack of supervision at parties and other social events, the premature sexualisation and objectification of girls and boys, precocious consumerism and, perhaps most pernicious and undermining of all, readily accessible pornography, which displaces love and distorts impressionable views of relationships, respect for others and self-worth," he said in a statement.
"This generation of young people enjoys many advantages but, equally, faces many new challenges which we all must help them to overcome."
As of Monday, more than 16,500 people had signed the petition, calling for an overhaul of how sexual consent is taught in schools, especially to boys.
The woman who started it, Ms Contos, said that access to porn appears to be a recurring theme in the stories, but that the responsibility lies with schools with intervene before young people turn to explicit websites for their "education".
She began the petition - calling for holistic sex education earlier in the curriculum - last week.
"If we don't give teenagers education about sex and consent in school, then they will turn to porn," she told news.com.au.
"There's a time and place for porn, but it should not be used as an educational tool. It's such a bad first exposure to sex for young people, because it doesn't teach about issues like consent and leads to very unrealistic expectations of sex for young teenagers.
She said she was a realist and was not "anti-porn", rather she believes schools should be teaching children about consent before they are exposed to it.
"Let's be realistic. You're not going to stop 13-year-old boys from watching porn, but we can stop it being their sole form of sex education."
She said the testimonies about same-sex assaults and rapes - such as the story from the north shore girl who ended up on Pornhub - show the need to include education around Queer consent in the classroom.
"Times have changed. We need to keep up and make sure lessons are reflective of our lives," she said. "It is an injustice to so many people that we are not teaching teenagers about Queer consent."
Her movement to push for earlier education around consent is gaining momentum. She is in talks with MPs and has plans to launch a website with thousands more testimonies very soon.
The petition has also been sent to the principals of some of the schools mentioned in the testimonies, with a powerful message.
"The majority of signatories to this petition will have long since graduated from your schools. Most are now at university or in their early years of the workforce with their high school days only a distant memory," Ms Contos said.
"Yet, they are advocating for younger generations to receive an education that they were either deprived of or received far too late. This highlights the long-lasting impacts that sexual assault at a young age leaves, not just on the victim, but their friends and the wider community.
"Those who have signed this petition have done so because they are sad and angry that they did not receive an adequate education regarding what amounts to sexual assault and what to do when it happens.
"These are uncomfortable conversations to have with young teenagers but it is far more uncomfortable to live knowing that something happened to you, or a friend, or perhaps that you were even the perpetrator of it, and it could have been avoided."
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Originally published as Chilling story shows dark problem in schools