Here’s Why Chanel Contos Is Making Headlines

She's redefining conversations about consent in school.
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Whether you watch the news with your parents or merely keep up to date on TikTok and Instagram, you’d be hard-pressed not to have seen the name “Chanel Contos” come up in your feed in the last few months. And for a very good reason.

WATCH: Chanel Contos’s message for International Women’s Day 2021

Chanel has been campaigning to include consent in school curriculums. Tonight, the young activist is convening an expert roundtable to discuss how respectful relationships, sex, and consent education can be best embedded in the National Curriculum.

The deadline for the review of the country’s curriculum is the end of this year. It is an event that occurs once every six years, which means changes need to be made now. The Roundtable discussion is vital, as decisions will be made in October.

Scheduled for September 16th from 5pm to 7:45pm AEST, the roundtable conversations will involve politicians, sexual assault academics and survivors, as well as members of the Australia Curriculum and Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). It is to be facilitated by CEO of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, Hayley Foster.

In the statement about the roundtable, Chanel said it was time for decision makers to hear our cries and take action. “What our children learn needs to be informed by young people and experts. Our country is pleading for consent and sexuality education to be more explicit, mandatory, and taught from a younger age, it’s the time for decision makers to hear this loud and clear,” the 23-year-old said.

So just how did Chanel Contos come to be convening such a monumental roundtable? Read on to find out.

Chanel Contos is convening an expert roundtable to discuss how respectful relationships, sex, and consent education can be best embedded in the National Curriculum. (Credit: Instagram)

Who is Chanel Contos?

Chanel Contos is a former student of Kambala girls in Sydney and a UNSW tutor residing in London, England. More importantly, however, she’s the creator of Teach Us Consent movement and inspired a national conversation in Australia around consent and the lack of education on the topic in schools.

Why is Chanel Contos in the news?

On the 22nd of February this year, Chanel Contos shared a poll on her Instagram, @chanelc, that asked if any girls from Sydney had experienced – or knew someone who had experienced – sexual assault or had their consent abused by boys from all-boys private schools. 

Shockingly, she was met with a resounding 70 percent saying yes, which then inspired her to create a Google doc for people to share their testimonies – which now sits at over 17,000 individual victims’ stories. 

Then, she created a petition called Teach Us Consent, calling for the Australian government to teach consent in the school curriculum earlier than year 10. Since then, she’s met with school principals and been on a number of TV programs from The Project to The Today Show to talk about her activism.

WATCH: Chanel Contos shares her story on The Project (Article continues after video)

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What is the Teach Us Consent petition?

Teach Us Consent is a petition penned by Chanel Contos which aims to convince the Australian government to introduce lessons about consent, rape, and sexual assault at school earlier than year 10.

“This petition and its accompanying testimonies will be presented to MPs around the country to advocate for holistic sexuality education earlier in the school curriculum,” the official website explains. 

You can learn more and sign the petition here.

Doing so, Chanel and many believe, will minimise sexual assault and harassment among young people simply because we will be taught the tools needed to learn to respect each other’s boundaries and ask for consent. 

RELATED: #NotAllMen Is Trending And Guys… Not Everything’s About You

Chanel started the Teach Us Consent petition. (Credit: Instagram)

What school did Chanel Contos go to?

Chanel Contos attended The Kambala Church of England Girls’ School, an independent private girls school in the Eastern Sydney suburb of Rose Bay. 

According to her LinkedIn, she graduated in 2014 before pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce/Arts, Information Systems and Development Studies at UNSW. 

Where did Chanel Contos grow up?

According to Sydney Morning Herald, Chanel Contos grew up in Vaucluse, in Sydney’s east, where she went to a local primary school before she started at Kambala in Year 5.

What is Chanel Contos studying?

Chanel Contos studied Commerce/Arts, Information Systems and Development Studies at UNSW, and is currently studying a Master of Education, Gender and International Development and International Global Studies at the University College of London.

Go follow Chanel on Instagram to stay updated with all the incredible work she is doing.

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