March 05, 20215:01 pm
Stephanie Bennett | The Courier-Mail
Queensland’s most prestigious boys’ schools have been rocked by graphic allegations of rape and sexual assault committed by current and former students, with private school girls publishing shocking claims online.
Allegations against Brisbane Grammar School, Brisbane Boys’ College, Toowoomba Grammar School, Nudgee College, St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace, Anglican Church Grammar School and St Laurence’s College students are among the thousands of testimonies posted on a viral petition calling for earlier education on sexual consent.
Petition creator Sydney student Chanel Contos’ call for victims to share stories of sexual assaults perpetrated by all-boys’ school students in an effort to highlight “rape culture” has resulted in more than 4000 responses from across the county.
Ms Contos said distressing stories from Queensland girls quickly flooded in after the petition was shared widely on social media.
One posted by a former All Hallows’ student alleges she was raped by a boy from the prestigious St Laurence’s School in Brisbane, while a second All Hallows’ student claims she was coerced into losing her virginity to a Churchie boy and woke up “covered in blood”.
Another wrote there were “multiple occasions with various students from St Laurence’s and St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace – I learnt the hard way about consent.
“I was raped and left in the dark, bleeding between my legs as I was robbed of my virginity. “It was painful and I didn’t tell anyone because I was ashamed.”
A claim by a former Stuartholme student alleges she was raped at a party by a Terrace student.
“Everyone at that party including my ‘friends’ at the time let me get drunkenly led into that room and no one did anything to intervene,” the post states.
Another Stuartholme student wrote she was coerced into having sex by an older boy and “eventually gave in”.
A post claiming to be from a former St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School student alleges she was raped in Year 9 by a Year 10 Nudgee College student.
“Immediately after the assault I told a friend and she slut shamed me and told me I was ‘too drunk’ and asked ‘what did you expect’,” it read.
A fellow St Aidan’s student wrote she was “digitally raped” at a school dance by a Brisbane Boys’ College student while his friends laughed.
Ms Contos said while the majority of responses to her petition referenced private boys’ schools, she believed similar stories were happening “in every school in Australia”.
“But the issue is heightened in same sex schools because it’s not an adequate representation of reality,” she said.
“You often only see the opposite sex on the weekend, when the main goal is having a story to tell on Monday.”
Ms Contos said while she had been in touch with politicians from New South Wales and Victoria in regards to the disturbing nature of the allegations, no one from the Queensland government had yet attempted to contact her.
Headmasters and principals expressed their horror at the allegations, and said they were committed to enhancing programs focused on educating their students on consent and respectful sexual relationships.
Brisbane Grammar School headmaster Anthony Micallef yesterday wrote to parents he was “appalled” by the accounts.
“While every school has programs to educate students about respectful relationships, drugs and alcohol, and the issue of consent, every parent and educator fears that young people may still make terrible decisions that have lifelong consequences,” Mr Micallef said.
“The traumatic experiences the young women describe in the online petition, and the behaviours perpetrated by young men, suggest this issue is ongoing and must be addressed.”
Churchie headmaster Alan Campbell also issued a letter to parents, stating as a boys school they had a “special responsibility” to educate boys to grow to be good men who will respect women and men equally.
He said sexual consent was taught and discussed in Year 9 and Year 12.
Toowoomba Grammar Headmaster John Kinniburgh commended the girls for “standing up and speaking out.”
“No person, regardless of age or gender, should ever be subjected to unwanted sexual or peer group pressure,” he said.
“TGS has programs in place that teach students about respectful relationships, consent and the criminal nature of sexual harassment and assault.”
St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace principal Michael Carroll said the school’s sex education began in Year 5 and 6, with consent addressed directly with Years 10, 11 and 12.
“We have been developing a stronger focus on respectful relations over the past 12-18 months at Terrace and this has been a significant stimulus to create a narrower focus around age-appropriate discussions about sex education and in particular, consent in sex,” he said.