The recent allegations of sexual assault covered in the media, has sparked an online petition instigated by a former student from a private girl’s school in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. The petition asked for former students who had experienced sexual assault whilst still at school to come forward and share their stories. The petition has since gone viral with an enormous response from thousands of young women who have either signed the petition or shared their experience.
The accounts shared by these young women are disturbing, shocking, graphic and upsetting. It has set in motion a wake-up call for many schools to reassess their curriculum around sex and life education. The clear message arising from this is that education around consent is being delivered too late, with many young women being subjected to sexual assault before they reach Year 10. The petition is calling for change to help protect young people across the nation.
This also highlights a strong need for parents to step-up and start having conversations around consent. It is not enough to assume that your teenager knows or understands what it means and the implications surrounding it. Teenagers need to learn about boundaries, enabling them to respect themselves and their partners. Talking about consent regularly will help normalise it and encourage your teenager to experience healthy relationships as they journey into adulthood.
For support in relation to some of the issues raised in this Special Report, please contact one of the following services:
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636