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Parents at elite Sydney private schools pull students out following rape allegations

Parents of boys at Australia’s top private schools have spoken out after a shocking petition exposed a teenage sexual assault crisis.

They slammed what they described as a culture of entitlement, easy access to alcohol, drugs and lack of sexual consent education at elite schools. 

Former Kambala student Chanel Contos, 22, sent shockwaves around the private school system after collecting testimonials from 2,000 young women who were allegedly raped and assaulted by their male peers. 

Former Kambala student Chanel Contos has collected testimonials from hundreds of former private school students who were allegedly raped and assaulted by their male peers

Parents of boys at Australia's top private schools have spoken out after a shocking petition exposed a teenage sexual assault crisis. Pictured: St Joseph's College Hunters Hill

Parents of boys at Australia’s top private schools have spoken out after a shocking petition exposed a teenage sexual assault crisis. Pictured: St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill

What started as an Instagram poll targeting elite private Sydney schools quickly went viral as sexual assault victims came forward to call for an end to outdated consent laws.

One father of a Year 9 student at Kings School in Parramatta told the Sun-Herald elite schools cultivated a culture of entitlement and privilege, which he said leads to a lack of ‘sensitivity’ towards others.  

‘They teach these kids they’re the best, they’re the chosen ones, they’re going to run Australia, they’re going to conquer the world,’ he said.   

The parent said he choose the private school for his son to give him a better chance, but worried he and his wife would struggle to teach the child to be empathetic towards others.

A mother of a Year 7 child from St Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill said while she had no complaints about the school, she agreed sex consent education should be taught earlier at all schools in general.

‘It needs to be taught before they’re sexually active,’ she said.

Another mother who also had a child in Year 9 said the schools needed to teach sex consent from primary school and single-sex schools should encourage co-ed mixing.

Hundreds of girls who attended Sydney private schools has claimed they were sexually assaulted and raped by private school boys and are demanding schools implement better sex consent education. Pictured: Chanel Contos is calling for better sex education

Hundreds of girls who attended Sydney private schools has claimed they were sexually assaulted and raped by private school boys and are demanding schools implement better sex consent education. Pictured: Chanel Contos is calling for better sex education

Teenagers are being pulled out of prestigious schools because of 'cultural' problems at elite schools, as a shocking petition exposes sexual assaults and rapes allegedly perpetrated by private school students. Pictured: All-boys school Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview

Teenagers are being pulled out of prestigious schools because of ‘cultural’ problems at elite schools, as a shocking petition exposes sexual assaults and rapes allegedly perpetrated by private school students. Pictured: All-boys school Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview

She also believed easy access to alcohol, drugs and unsupervised house parties exacerbated rape culture among privileged students. 

‘There does seem to be access to parties at a very early age because people live in big houses and have a lot of money,’ she said.

‘I wonder if that’s the bigger issue than the private school or public school. I think it’s just the access to money, access to alcohol, access to drugs and unsupervised parties are quite common.’

Another parent said they had pulled their children out of St Catherine’s and Cranbrook and sent them to public schools instead because of cultural issues.

The parent said they felt local public schools were better at dealing with areas of teen development like consent than the private equivalents.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the schools mentioned by the parents for comment.

Ms Contos said Kambala High School (pictured) gave her a 'great consent education but they gave it too late'

Ms Contos said Kambala High School (pictured) gave her a ‘great consent education but they gave it too late’

The revelations come after a petition started by an-ex private school girl exposed shocking stories of rape and assault by males attending all-male institutions. 

Ms Contos told Daily Mail Australia she started the petition after her friend confided in her about a sexual assault case that happened when she was 14-years-old. 

‘When I saw how distressed she was eight, nine years later, I knew that something had to be done,’ she said. 

‘The realisation you’ve been sexually assaulted, it’s a hard thing to go through’.  

Ms Contos said she was forced to give oral sex to a boy when she was in Year 8, but did not realise she had been raped or learn about consent until she attended a sex consent class in Year 10 that presented by a former police officer. 

‘I was angry, but also had a sense of clarity around that I had in fact been sexually abused,’ she said. 

At least 1,500 former students have signed the petition or shared stories of their own alleged assaults, with some boys even saying they perpetrated assault as students. Pictured: Chantel Contos said she was forced to perform oral sex as her first sexual experience

At least 1,500 former students have signed the petition or shared stories of their own alleged assaults, with some boys even saying they perpetrated assault as students. Pictured: Chantel Contos said she was forced to perform oral sex as her first sexual experience

But she wasn’t the only girl who realized they had just been sexually abused. 

‘I walked out of that room together with my friends and I remember the girls saying ‘my guy could get seven years’ or ‘mine could go to jail for 17 years’,’ she recalled. 

Ms Contos said despite her school giving her a ‘great consent education, they gave it too late’.

‘A lot of people are already sexually active by 15 or 16, and you need to have this consent training before you become sexually active’, she said.  

‘People who have contacted me have said they received no consent sexual education, especially boys schools said that it was minimal to none.’ 

Allegations outlined in testimonials on the petition including being drugged and raped, being assaulted while intoxicated, waking up to find boyfriends having sex with them and being forced to perform oral sex.

Ms Contos said boys have left testimonies alleging they have also experienced sexual assault, and dozens have messaged to say they are questioning their past sexual experiences. 

Ms Contos' petition now has 6,400 signatures and nearly 700 testimonies from woman aged between 13 to 50-years-old from across Australia

The petition has now spread to schools across Australia with hundreds of testimonies sent in

Ms Contos’ petition now has 6,400 signatures and nearly 700 testimonies from woman aged between 13 to 50-years-old from across Australia 

Some former private schoolboys even confessed anonymously to perpetrating sexual assault or harassment, saying they regretted their actions. 

‘When I was younger I hooked up with a girl at a party when she was so drunk she couldn’t stand. Since then I have apologised to her and she has accepted,’ wrote one person who said they were a student in 2015.

‘However I still think about the potential damage I did to her and wonder what longstanding damage I could’ve done to her as an adult.’  

Testimonials on the petition have accused unnamed students from Sydney’s most exclusive all-boy schools, including Scots, Cranbrook, Sydney Grammar School, St Joseph’s, Waverley, St Ignatius Riverview, and Shore.

Women said they had attended all-girls schools including Kambala, Kincoppal-Rose Bay, St Catherine’s School, Pymble Ladies College, Wenona, Queenwood and Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College. 

Ms Contos updates her followers online that over 300 testimonies had been sent into the petition in the last 24 hours alone

Ms Contos updates her followers online that over 300 testimonies had been sent into the petition in the last 24 hours alone 

The petition called for schools to provide consent sex education to students ‘from a young age.’ 

‘These are uncomfortable conversations to have with young teenagers,’ it reads.

‘[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.’

Schools told Daily Mail Australia they were ‘saddened’ by the reports, calling it a ‘wake up call’ earlier this week.

Scots College principal Ian Lambert said in a statement that the College took the issues raised by the petition ‘very seriously.’ 

Chantel Contos (pictured) is calling for schools to provide consent sexual education to students from a young age 

‘No person, regardless of age or gender, should ever be subjected to unwanted sexual pressure or peer group pressure,’ he wrote.  

‘The Scots College will now actively seek further input from additional health experts and community specialists working in the field to strengthen the educational programs taught to our young men, in an attempt to challenge and change the cultural discourse and behaviour,’ he said.   

A spokesperson from Riverview College said the allegations were ‘shocking’.

‘Non consensual sex is a crime and this message is given unequivocally to our students as part of their education which is underpinned by the importance of human dignity, respect and equality.’ 

The Principal of Scots College (pictured) Ian Lambert said the school was reviewing its educational programs in light of the petition

The Principal of Scots College (pictured) Ian Lambert said the school was reviewing its educational programs in light of the petition 

Headmaster of all-boys school Waverley College Graham Leddie said ‘sexism is an everyday reality for women’ and the school was working towards stamping out the ‘disgraceful culture of sexism that still exists in Australia.’

‘We need to raise our expectations of a generation of boys in Australia that have a reputation for being self-serving, entitled and craving instant gratification,’ he said.

‘For this reason, we encourage schools to be held to a high standard.’

St Catherine’s School headmistress Dr Julie Townsend said it was ‘heartbreaking’ to read the testimonials. 

‘It is clear from these girls’ testimonies that many of them have suffered in silence for years, and we need to ensure that, not only do they understand what assault is, but know their rights in reporting it and charging someone,’ she said.   

Ms Contos (pictured) said she hopes the petition will bring change to sexuality education to students across Australia

Ms Contos (pictured) said she hopes the petition will bring change to sexuality education to students across Australia 

Principal of boys school Waverley College Graham Leddie said schools needed to be held to ‘a high standard.’  

‘We need to raise our expectations of a generation of boys in Australia that have a reputation for being self-serving, entitled and craving instant gratification,’ he said.

Ms Contos said she’s thankful for the discussions and reflection the petition has opened across Australia and worldwide.   

‘I hope the petition brings change to sexuality education, it needs to be more holistic, not by only incorporating consent, but also the forces that shape behaviors such as toxic masculinity and rape culture’, she said. 

‘I hope this will better equip younger generations, so they never had the delayed realization that they’ve been victims or perpetrators of sexual assault’. 

If this story has raised issues for you, please contact 1800 Respect 1800 737 732, Lifeline 13 11 14, beyondblue 1300 224 636, Domestic Violence Line 1800 65 64 63

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