What is stealthing and is removing the condom during sex assault? – The SunJuly 21, 2021
WOMEN are being warned against a horrifying practice of men secretly removing their condom during sex without consent.
“Stealthing” is reported to be on the rise, but what do we know about it and is it sexual assault? Here's all you need to know…
What is stealthing?
Stealthing is where a man wearing a condom will deliberately and secretly remove a condom during sex without consent from their partner.
The disturbing sex trend was examined by Alexandra Brodsky for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law who said the practice is "not new" but is rarely spoken about.
Even more troubling is the online community Brodsky uncovered, where men encourage other men to “stealth” their partners.
Alexandra shared how men and women who have been victims of the act had experienced a “deeply felt feeling of violation”.
Stealthing leaves a victim vulnerable to pregnancy or STIs, and can cause emotional, physical and financial harm.
Victim Olivia Petter shared how her date secretly removed his condom during sex resulting in her falling pregnant and needing an abortion.
Oliva said she classes what happened to her as "rape."
An American man anonymously spoke out about why he does it.
In an interview with Hack, Brendan* said: “It feels better with no condom on.”
He admitted to stealthing partners “most of the time” he’s asked to wear a condom.
Worryingly, most of his sexual partners haven’t notice his covert actions and many of his controversial views are shared by most of his friends.
Is stealthing sexual assault?
The Ministry of Justice declined to give an official statement on the issue, but said that if any case were brought it would be up to the CPS and judiciary to determine if the act was criminal.
Non-consensual condom removal is considered by most to be sexual assault, as it forces an individual into a sexual situation they were not agreeing to.
Previously, a Swiss court convicted a man of rape after he took off his condom without telling his partner.
The court concluded that the woman would have said no to sex if she knew the condom would be removed.
Brodsky argued that since existing laws don’t necessarily cover “stealthing,” a new statute is the best bet for addressing something that too many people experience, but don’t know how to talk about.
Katie Russell from Rape Crisis told the Sun Online: “Both the law and the Crown Prosecution Service are clear that so-called 'stealthing' is a very serious sexual offence and, depending on precise circumstances, could be prosecuted as rape.
"Anyone has the right to consent to one type of sexual activity but not another.
"If one party has received consent for sex on the basis they wear a condom and then removed the condom without the other person's knowledge or permission, consent for sex after that point is lost. Sex without consent is rape."
What are the risks of stealthing?
The NHS website states a number of risks involved when an individual has sex without a condom.
There's a chance of a woman getting pregnant and the possibility of getting or passing on STIs, including:
- genital herpes
- genital warts
Psychotherapist Kathryn Smerling warns stealthing is even leaving some people with post-traumatic stress and emotional harm.
She added: “They experience a lot of shame after. Some have to learn how to talk about what happened to them before they feel comfortable having sex again.”
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of stealthing, or if you would like more information, please visit: rapecrisis.org.uk
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