Chanel Contos receives prestigious Diana Award


24-year-old activist, Chanel Contos, has joined 180 young changemakers from around the world in receiving the prestigious Diana Award earlier this week.

Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the award is presented by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex.

Chanel was recognised for her role as founder and CEO of ‘Teach Us Consent‘, a movement lobbying for and providing holistic consent and sexuality education.

Namely, she was awarded for her work in “exposing pervasive misogynistic attitudes and behaviours within Australian schools through more than 6,700 testimonies from women and girls who have been sexually assaulted by men and boys.”

In February 2021, the Greek Australian posted a poll asking her Instagram followers if they or someone close to them had been sexually assaulted by someone when they were at school. Within 24 hours, over 200 people replied ‘yes’.

Overwhelmed, but unsurprised by the response, Chanel launched a petition calling for more holistic and earlier consent education in Australia, as well as, a platform where people can share anonymous testimonies of sexual assault.

Since the website’s launch, over 44,000 Australians have signed the petition, with more than 6,700 people sharing their stories of sexual assault on the website.

Chanel Contos’s petition has garnered over 44,000 signatures with more than 6,700 testimonies. File Photo: Mammamia, 2021

The petition and Contos’ work prompted the creation of the Australian Curriculum Version 9.0 which includes mandatory consent education and from 2023, schools may begin to offer age-appropriate consent and respectful relationship classes.

The age-appropriate sex education curriculum will see young school children learn about the personal and social skills needed to interact respectfully with others and by year five, will look at strategies to manage the changes associated with puberty.

Older children will learn about negotiating consent and strategies for managing their relationships as they change over time.

For such reasons, the award praised Chanel for using her voice to “improve sexual education around consent, breaking cultures of silence around sexual harassment, abuse and rape culture.”

“Her vision has created a fundamental shift in the mindset of all Australians. She has taken what was seen as a “woman’s problem” and created a solution based on the whole of society taking responsibility.”

In a letter addressed to Chanel, Prince William thanked the young Australian for her “compassion, bravely and absolute determination”, adding that she is “the personification of my mother’s legacy”.

In a LinkedIn post, the award recipient said she felt honoured, adding that she is “dedicating this award to all young people who have been a part of the Teach Us Consent movement, and made consent education mandatory in Australia.”

READ MORE: Chanel Contos stars in viral ‘Safety. Respect. Equity.’ campaign calling for systemic reform




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