Melbourne school shame: Male students suspended at Yarra Valley Grammar after rating female peers

Georgina Noack and Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Four male students have been suspended from Yarra Valley Grammar over a spreadsheet ranked female students by derogatory terms.
Four male students have been suspended from Yarra Valley Grammar over a spreadsheet ranked female students by derogatory terms. Credit: Facebook

An elite Melbourne school has called parents into an emergency meeting after a heinous list compiled by male students that ranked their female peers’ attractiveness — labelling some as “unrapeable” — was exposed.

At least three male students from Yarra Valley Grammar have been suspended after a spreadsheet, reportedly compiled by Year 11 students, ranking female students’ attractiveness emerged on the social media platform Discord last Wednesday.

The list categorised the female students using terms such as as “wifeys”, “cuties”, and calling some “unrapeable”.

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It is understood Yarra Valley Grammar called an emergency meeting with parents of students named on the list on Monday morning, after the scandal sparked furious public condemnation.

The Nightly has contacted the school for comment.

Principal Mark Merry addressed the scandal on Monday, saying he was “shocked and outraged” by the “disgraceful” dossier.

“We’re attempting to pick up the pieces now. What has been said can’t be unsaid and now we’re facing the consequences of it here at the school,” Dr Merry told ABC News Breakfast.

He insisted the list was “completely counter to everything that we hold dear here at the school”.

He told Channel Nine’s Today that the school was focused on looking after the young women targeted in the list and holding those responsible to account.

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare denounced the schoolboys’ “disgusting and appalling” behaviour and said he was “glad” the students were suspended.

Premier Allan said she was “devastated” by the scandal. NCA NewsWire/ Nicki Connolly Credit: News Corp Australia

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan echoed his criticism, saying she was “devastated” to learn of the list.

“The behaviour that’s been reported today at the school in Ringwood is misogynist, it’s disgraceful, it’s disgusting and it’s utterly unacceptable,” Ms Allan told reporters on Monday.

“This pattern of violence against women, not only does the act of violence have to stop but (also) these displays of disrespecting women. It’s just disgraceful.”

But advocates have been anything but surprised by the revelations, with Teach Us Consent campaigner Chanel Contos telling ABC: “If this is shocking news to anyone... they’re not paying attention”.

“This notion of ranking women and objectifying girls is new to absolutely no-one,” Ms Contos said, adding that these “small acts” related directly to the nationwide rallies calling for an end to gendered violence.

Consent education advocate and founder of the Teach Us Consent campgin Chanel Contos. Credit: News Corp Australia

The prominent consent education advocate — whose campaign was instrumental in making consent education mandatory in the Australian Curriculum — wrote on Instagram she was “thankful” Dr Merry took this seriously when “so many don’t”.

“Suspension is accountability and accountability deters others from doing the same,” Ms Contos wrote on Instagram.

“I hope this become protocol for any acts like this.”

As reported previously by The Nightly, although consent education is mandatory in the National Curriculum, Victoria is the only state in Australia to fully implement and roll-out the federal government’s multi-million dollar Consent and Respectful Relationships Education policy.

A spokesperson from the Victorian education department confirmed to The Nightly that 1950 government and participating Catholic and independent schools were signed up to the state’s Respectful Relationships initiative that supported them “to embed respect and gender equality across their entire school community”.

But End Rape on Campus founder Sharna Bremner said the issue was not that students did not knowing about consent and respectful relationships, but “that they don’t always care about the answer”.

“In Year 11, most students are around 16 to 17-years-old. Old enough to know full well that ranking your peers is offensive. Old enough to know full well that labelling some of them ‘unrapeable’ is beyond vile,” Ms Bremner said.

She said more education would not stamp out this behaviour, but the “village” taking tangible action to punish such “sh*tty behaviours that aren’t criminal”.

“We all want to end gendered violence until that means doing the hard thing — sacking the player, firing the employee, expelling the student, not buying the album, ending the friendship,” she said.

“It takes a village to protect and enable abusers, and that village is made up of friends who laugh at lists of ‘unrapeable’ peers, parents who excuse their kid’s behaviour, footy clubs who allow abusers to play, unis who let them stay enrolled and employers who refuse to sack them.

“It was never that they (students) didn’t understand consent or that abuse was wrong. It was always that they just didn’t care. And until we’re ready to address that, we’re not going to get very far.”

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Sexual Assault Counselling Australia: 1800 211 028

Lifeline: 13 11 14

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