In February 2021, Chanel Contos polled her Instagram followers asking if they – or someone close to them – had been sexually harassed or assaulted while they were at school.
And boy, did it blow up.
In less than 24 hours, more than 200 of her young followers (73% of the poll’s respondents) said yes.
“Overwhelmed but not unsurprised” by the response, the former Sydney private school student launched an online petition called ‘Teach Us Consent’.
…which blew up too.
More than 44,000 people – many of then Gen Zs – have since signed the petition which demands holistic sexual consent education be implemented in the national school’s curriculum.
Amongst them, more than 6,700 heartbreaking testimonies of sexual harassment and assault.
Over the course of the year, the petition gained enough traction to catch the attention of state and federal MPs – who’ve just unanimously agreed to embed it in the national curriculum.
“We did it.”
Gen Zs, who are much more willing (and comfortable) to talk about sex than older generations, are stoked by the progress – especially Contos, who celebrated the announcement on Instagram to her now 28k followers.
“This monumental change has only been made possible because of the tens of thousands of voices that have supported this movement,” Contos said in an Instagram post celebrating the huge win for Gen Zs.
“We did it.”
So what’s the deal with the new curriculum? And when will it be implemented?
Well, the details are yet to be finalised, with education ministers due to meet in April to hash out the new, compulsory topic.
But in a nutshell?
It’ll incorporate consent education including education about coercion, power imbalances, and gendered stereotyping which will kick off at the beginning of the 2023 school year.
Here’s hoping this is just one step of many that’ll help shape a healthier, safer future for Gen Zs.