WHAT WILL THE CURRICULUM INCLUDE?
The curriculum will incorporate many facets of sexual education, ranging from power imbalances and coercion to gendered stereotypes, examining how each of these play a role in shaping sexual experiences.
As it currently stands, the new curriculum is expected to roll out in 2023 across every school in the country.
HOW DID THE CHANGE COME ABOUT?
In February 2021, Chanel Contos posted a poll on her Instagram stories, asking if anyone had been sexually assaulted by someone who attended an all boys school. The poll received 1500 views and 300 responses — 203 of which voted yes. It was a terrifying discovery, which shone a light on an important issue which many young women face.
The results prompted her to begin a petition, which she then presented to MPs around the country to advocate for holistic sexual education to be introduced into the school curriculum earlier. In particular, she wanted the topics of consent, rape culture, slut shaming and toxic masculinity to be covered. To date, the petition has received 44,653 signatures and 6,756 testimonies.
After the petition had launched, NSW Police saw a 54% increase in sexual assault reporting between February and March 2021. Then, in collaboration with Stacey Maloney (Head of Sex Crimes Squad NSW) and Dr. Joy Townsend (one of Australia's leading consent educators), Chanel launched Operation Vest in March 2021. This was a new way to report sexual assault without initiating a criminal investigation, which works not only to provide closure to victims, but also to support future victims who may come forward and report the same person (thereby building a case against them).
Now, in February 2022 (which marks exactly one year since the launch of the petition), the consent education curriculum has finally been changed. It's a huge step in the right direction to hopefully prevent sexual assault and offer much-needed support to victims. A huge congratulations are in order for Chanel, and we can't wait to see what she achieves next in this space.
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their website.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Elle.
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