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"You are part of the problem": The captain of Brisbane Boys' College has a message for his peers.

"Boys, this speech today is different, and it is the hardest one I've ever had to write. Not because it is difficult, but because it is heartbreaking."

These were among the words Brisbane Boys' College Captain Mason Black told his peers in a rousing address that has been viewed more than 260,000 times on Facebook and earned him nationwide recognition.

The teenager's message for his fellow students at the private Toowong school this week was an old one. It's one that women have been shouting for years, one that has intensified in recent weeks amid allegations that a woman was raped in Parliament House, and amid the March 4 Justice rallies that called for an end to gendered violence.

"Too many of my friends, our friends, too many of my loved ones, your loved ones, and too many women around Australia are victims of sexual assault," Black said. "The narrative needs to change."

Watch: "You are part of the problem..."


Video via Brisbane Boys' College/Facebook

Brisbane Boys College was among several schools identified in a recent viral petition calling for consent to be taught as part of sex education.

The petition was launched by Chanel Contos, a former student at Sydney girls' school Kambala, and featured hundreds of allegations of sexual assault against private-school boys.

In the wake of the petition, the Queensland government this month announced a review into sexual consent education in schools.

"It makes me feel sick and it makes me feel embarrassed that our school is featured in the testimonies of young women who are victims of sexual assault," Black said. "I feel so ashamed that this issue is a part of our history and our culture...

"But realistically it isn't just those who are mentioned in the media. If you've ever objectified a woman based on her looks, talked about females in a misogynistic way or taken advantage without consent, you are part of the problem... Boys, don't allow yourself to slip into complacent denial by disregarding the seriousness of this issue."

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Listen: The Quicky spoke to women about the movement behind the March 4 Justice. 


Black revealed that his own mother had been subjected to sexual abuse as a 10-year-old, and queried whether his peers would be brave enough to hear similar stories from women in their lives.

"I wish I grew up in an Australia where the narrative that one in three women will be physically or sexually abused at some point in their life wasn't true, but it is," he said.

And so, Black called upon his peers to be proactive in stopping abuse, to stop with the sexist slurs and derogatory comments about women, and to keep each other accountable in that effort. 

"This is not solely an issue of protecting women but an issue of educating men," he said. "Stop being boys, be human."

"It's not about what I've done."

Since Black's speech went viral on social media this week, he has been invited to speak on morning television shows, newspapers and online media.

It seems it's simply that surprising that a young man would have the inclination and the courage to amplify the issue of sexual violence against women.

That sad fact is not lost on Black. 

During each media appearance, he has deflected the praise.

"It's not about what I've done," he told Network 10's The Project on Friday night. 

"It's about all those girls, all those women that have given online testimonies, every single girl that's shared something to her Instagram story, every single girl that's spoken up. 

"It's about them, and I think that's really what's got to be focused on."

Watch Mason's full speech below...


If you have experienced sexual assault, support is available. Please call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit the website to speak to a trained counsellor.

Feature image: Brisbane Boys College/Mamamia

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