This post deals with sexual assault and might be triggering for some readers.
"Don't lie to yourself," Asher Learmonth told his peers. "Don't make excuses."
The head prefect at Cranbrook Senior School, a private school in Sydney's Eastern suburbs, was standing in front of a full assembly, telling his mates that they needed to change their attitudes to women. Now.
Asher was speaking after a week of scrutiny on Sydney's private boys schools. After a week where not hundreds, but thousands of woman have recalled inappropriate, sexual and predatory behaviour within the private school community.
Asher wants his peers to sit with the uncomfortable feeling that brings.
Sit with it, and change.
"As you're all aware, there is a petition going around on social media which includes the testimonies of Sydney girls who have been victims of sexual assault. Our school features heavily… too heavily… once again," Asher began his speech.
The petition, started by former Kambala Girls' School student Chanel Contos, features thousands of anonymous testimony and demands students be taught about consent earlier.
In his speech, Cranbrook prefect Asher acknowledged the schools had "regular, valuable and powerful talks" after consent and respect, but it was clear they had not had the intended impact.
He said he wasn't entirely sure why, but he had a message for his peers:
"I'm here to talk to you as a peer, as a mate, as a Cranbrookian, as someone who goes out with some of you boys, and someone desperate to make change. This time, I hope you will listen," he said.
"I would also like to acknowledge that there have been times when I've heard about disgusting behaviour and not done anything about it, times when I’ve tolerated boys referring to women in derogatory ways… times when I've stood by.
"However, as I've grown up, I've become a far better person and learnt from my past behaviour and made an honest attempt to fix it. I do believe that as I am now, I practise what I will preach – as so many of the boys in this room also do."