News Private schools get a harsh lesson about teenage sex

Author : joko joyoyudo
Publish Date : 2021-04-01

News Private schools get a harsh lesson about teenage sex

When Chanel Contos was a 13-year-old student at one of Sydney’s top all-girl private schools, she was discovering a social life of privileged parties, entitled boys and coerced sex.

Ten years later, tossing up a career in women’s advocacy or banking, Contos has chosen to become a voice of a community of girls who discovered that access to a great education, status and wealth came with a darker side.

Chanel Contos, whose online petition calling on people to come forward with allegations of sexual assault is forcing schools to change. 

Their horrific stories of being abused by private-school boys – 233 and counting – are told in a testimonial document created by Contos to reinforce a petition she started, urging schools to teach sexual consent much earlier.

The first story is from a graduate of Kambala Church of England Girls’ School, the same eastern suburbs institution were Contos was a prefect and house captain before studying commerce at the University of NSW.

“I was at Kambala,” the anonymous victim wrote. “He was Scots boy. He was my boyfriend. I was 13 and was forced to perform oral sex on him the first time I had ever gotten drunk.

“I didn’t find out I got raped until years later, when Kambala educated me on consent for the first time. He harassed me again eight years later. I found out in 2020 that he did the same thing to one of my friends in 2012.”

‘A very enclosed world’
The young women’s heartbreaking experiences, told in response to the alleged rape of ministerial adviser Brittany Higgins at work in 2019, make uncomfortable reading for parents and teachers of Sydney’s private schools, which create a social pathway to success that few government schools can match.

“The world I inhabited was a very enclosed part of the world,” Contos said on Friday from east London, where she is locked down in a warehouse of 10 people.

“My relationship with the opposite sex was on weekends and Saturday night parties. Because of the rape culture, everyone’s main goal was to kiss as many girls as they can and have as much sex as they can.”

Rape culture is a confronting phrase, and the parents of many private school boys would bristle at the proposition their teenage sons are socialised to demand sex.

While the proliferation of online pornography and sexualisation of social media has been blamed for turning teenage sex into a competitive sport, a leading Australian study reported in 2019 that high school students were no more sexually active than 25 years earlier, and most used condoms.

Parent-facilitated drinking
On Friday, the principal of Sydney’s all-boys King’s School, Tony George, published an essay respectfully pushing back on the assertion that schools are failing to explain to their charges that sex is not an entitlement.

In 2017, George expanded a personal development course for year 9 and 10 students known as Boys2Men to include more information on sexual consent, pornography, drugs and alcohol.

Parent-facilitated drinking is one of his top concerns, and unwanted drunken intercourse is the most common complaint cited by the women who responded to the school curriculum petition.

“Do we really think that an intoxicated adolescent boy is going to have the presence of mind to recall his sex education curriculum and restrain himself at a boozed-up party when given the opportunity to pursue his porn-filled imagination and desire?” George wrote. “If footballers and parliamentary staffers can’t do it, I think not.”

One Kambala mother, wary of parents who tolerate drugs and sex among teenagers, said she regarded some underage parties as dangerous to her daughters’ safety.

“Some of Sydney’s private boys schools almost encourage and certainly tolerate misogyny,” she said. “Boys don’t see girls in leadership positions or besting them academically. They only see them at parties.”

Women and porn
As for porn and sex, it would be naive to assume girls aren’t watching it and doing it.

Girls and women in year 10 and year 12 are more likely to have intercourse than their male classmates, a 2018 La Trobe University study found. By the final year of school, almost 60 per cent of girls are having sex.

Maree Crabbe, the director of It’s Time We Talked, an anti-porn education project, last year published research that found 41 per cent of young women had watched pornography in the previous year “to learn about sex and sexual relationships”.

Students naturally turn to porn to understand sex, an act complicated by emotions, desire and awkwardness that no teacher can be expected to fully explain.

Contos said that when she was a student at Kambala, which is ranked 21st in NSW, the school’s sex education omitted what may be its most important message for any girl: that they deserve to enjoy sex.

“I had no teaching about female pleasure,” she told me. “Without a focus on that, sex revolves around men.”
Mario Salieri was shooting a pornographic movie in a lavish Prague villa two decades ago when he first caught sight of the computer geeks who were about to upend his industry.

“The owner of the villa asked me if we could offer a sandwich to a young computer programmer who had been renting a room,” says Salieri. “The boy was pale and visibly hungry.”

A few years later, Salieri discovered that “the boy” had bought his first Rolls-Royce Phantom. Like other coders, he had made a fortune selling advertising on the early free-to-watch porn sites, which today attract hundreds of millions of visits every day.

Once run by silk-robed moguls such as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, the adult content industry is now led by a secretive group of experts on algorithms, search engine optimisation and targeted advertising.

“All of us old operators in the porn industry were busy counting our millions generated with the sales of VHS, DVD and TV rights … no one ever bet on the danger [of the new generation of pornographers],” says Salieri.

In the internet era, porn is everywhere, but its owners are out of sight. Porn pioneered elements of the global online advertising industry, such as targeted advertising, pay-per-click and email marketing, and is today a substantial part of the internet economy. So-called “tube” sites have also courted controversy over videos with links to exploitation of children and sex trafficking.

Yet very little is known about the new group of operators whose pockets are being lined by the insatiable demand for sexually arousing footage. No entity exemplifies this more than MindGeek, which with very little scrutiny or accountability, has quietly become the dominant porn company.

The Montreal-based business is the owner of several of the sector’s most visited sites including Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn. According to public financial records, MindGeek towers over the pornography industry in Europe and America.

Despite this, basic facts about the company are largely unknown. That includes its main owner – a businessman called Bernard Bergemar, whose name is almost completely invisible on the internet but who has a claim to the title of the world’s most successful porn tycoon.

Until now , his identity was secret, known only to a small circle of MindGeek executives and their advisers.

MindGeek’s website bears little trace of the adult industry. Instead, the company bills itself as a “leader in the design, development … and management of highly trafficked websites”. High traffic is an understatement.

The Luxembourg-registered group, which in 2018 recorded just over $US460 million ($605 million) in revenues, entices more than 115 million visitors to its websites every day. In the US over the past month, for example, more web searches were recorded for “Pornhub” than “coronavirus” or “Trump”, according to Google data.

Prospective MindGeek employees are told they will be able to take “big data to the next level”, uncovering “user habits overnight that take others months to gather”. Every day, roughly 15 terabytes worth of videos get uploaded to MindGeek’s sites, equivalent to roughly half of the content available to watch on Netflix.

Intense scrutiny
In recent years, the largest internet companies have become both household names and the subject of intense political scrutiny.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is regularly asked to testify before Congress, while YouTube’s content policies are an issue of widespread public debate. Online porn has not been completely immune to the sort of political and regulatory pressure that the big tech companies have started to face.
After years of campaigns against revenge porn – sexual footage taken or shared without consent that often identifies the victim – and other forms of exploitation, Pornhub agreed last week to temporarily take down all content from unverified sources, while it rolls out a new scheme to verify users.

There have long been stringent laws governing child pornography. But even though it has reshaped an industry that is responsible for a significant part of the traffic on the internet, MindGeek and entrepreneurs such as Bergemar have remained largely in the shadows.

MindGeek’s early lenders – including Wall Street names such as JPMorgan – made sure to also hide from view. And regulators have steered clear of asking too many questions.

“No politician wants to talk about the porn industry because then they have to acknowledge how it is part of everyday life,” says Kate Isaacs at Not Your Porn, which campaigns against the use of sexual images without consent. “So no one is holding a multinational corporation like MindGeek to account.”

MindGeek’s business model will be all too familiar to those who have watched the disruptive power of Silicon Valley.

Most of the pornography hosted by its free-to-watch sites is uploaded directly by the public. Much like Facebook’s huge reach convinces news publishers to promote stories on its platform – with the hope it will drive subscriptions – many porn production studios post snippets of their films on to MindGeek’s sites, hoping that some viewers will want to pay for more. But a vast amount of pornography available on free-to-watch sites is stolen.
Jason Tucker, president of copyright enforcement consultancy Battleship Stance, says porn is the most pirated content in the world simply because “it is the most desired content in the world”.

Tucker, who has worked with online porn companies since the late 1990s and counts MindGeek as a client, says large and well-established porn sites such as Pornhub are “the most responsible … they have too much risk not to adhere to laws”.

Other people in the industry disagree and single out MindGeek as driving the free porn business model, which has squeezed profit margins for producers, squashed smaller companies and pushed down pay and working conditions for a growing number of actors.

“They came into the market with a business model based on piracy and completely destroyed the industry, putting many production studios and performers out of business,” says Erika Lust, a Barcelona-based adult film producer.

She says her team sends MindGeek requests to remove her videos – both US and EU regulations mandate copyright holders to monitor whether their material is shared illegally –

Category :education

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