23-year-old Greek-Australian Chanel Contos is leading an online campaign and changing sex education in Australia.
As she revealed, one of the reasons for her campaign was the fact that she, herself was a victim of sexual abuse, at the age of 13.
Chanel Contos recently created a website called teach us consent.
What is sexual consent?
The ability to say yes or no to sexual intercourse and your desire to be respected.
But many children often do not know the meaning of consent, nor that the lack of it constitutes rape, until it is too late. Once they have already fallen victim, like Chanel.
She was just 13 years old when she was sexually assaulted, says Chanel.
But she did not confess to anyone what exactly happened, until several years later.
Chanel recently learned that the same perpetrator also attacked a friend of hers.
She explains that now she regrets that she did not speak out sooner, feeling that if she had spoken out, perhaps her friend would not have had the same traumatic experience.
Through the teach us consent website, Chanel has gathered thousands of testimonies of sexual abuse by students across Australia.
Two common features have been identified in relation to most complaints.
Firstly, the perpetrator is usually not a scary stranger who suddenly attacks.
Instead they are someone you know, who you trust, who you might like. Characteristically they are someone you may have wanted to kiss at the beginning of the night but did not want to do anything more with at the end of the night.
The second most common phenomenon reported is the imposition of oral sex. Many do not know that forcing you to have oral sex is also a form of sexual abuse and rape.
23-year-old Chanel Contos emphasises that the traumas left by sexual abuse last a lifetime and wonders if perpetrators understand the harm they inflict.
She argues that sex education argues should start much earlier than 16 years of age as is customary, to be taught more often by out-of-school professionals who should;
Teach that no means no and that the yes should not be self-evident, but a conscious and enthusiastic YES.
The impact of Chanel Contos’ campaign has led the Australian Ministry of Education to announce that it is making changes to the teaching of sex education immediately.
Schools across Australia will soon provide information on consent, respect and sexual abuse for pupils up to the age of 12.
It is a first victory for Chanel Contos and the thousands of girls who have endured the traumatic experience of sexual abuse or harassment.
Chanel Contos is of Greek origin from both her parents and her four grandparents, who were from Thessaloniki, Igoumenitsa and Kastellorizo. She has been to Greece several times for vacations.
Now studying in London, Chanel says that she is looking forward to the time that she will be able travel to Greece again, at the first opportunity.
Source SBS greek radio