It's a serious offence
You may have seen the word ‘stealthing’ trending on social media this week but there’s nothing faddy about this sex term.
It’s not something salacious or amusing you’re going to want to discuss with your girlfriends over a glass of wine – this is sexual assault and it’s a very serious issue.
What does it mean? It’s when a man secretly removes a condom during intercourse without his partner knowing and most importantly, without his partner’s consent.
The issue with these kinds of actions, which also affects people in relationships, is that it’s not necessarily underlined as gender-based violence but when you think about it, it is just that, it’s misogyny.
American Fellow at the National Women’s Law Center, Alexandra Brodsky, has called the act ‘rape-adjacent’ as it is a form of sexual violation – and one that is physically dangerous, too.
Condoms protect you from pregnancy and from catching an STI and for some, having sex without a condom is a much more intimate act that they reserve for specific occasions.
So, seeing as if someone has given consent to sex with a condom, it makes sense that if that condom comes off, said consent has been violated.
Alexandra Brodsky is asking that there be a law to address this kind of assault in America, especially after a case in Switzerland saw a man condemned of rape after he ‘stealthed’ his sexual partner who was clear about the fact that she would not have slept with him if she knew it would be unprotected.
In Ireland, Clíona Saidléar of Rape Crisis Network Ireland has called the act a ‘very serious offence’ and has said it is actually a crime in Ireland.
And, it’s illegal in the UK, too. Under section 74 of the ‘Sexual Offences Act 2003’, your partner needs to be ‘in a position to make that choice freely.’
The most important question is whether or not ‘the complainant agreed to the activity by choice.’