You may have seen the term in the news or are just seeing it for the first time. Stealthing: the practice of removing a condom during sex without consent. Labeled a "sex trend", stealthing is much more than just a "sex trend" and comes with risks and dangers you need to know about.
From a report in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, stealthing is removing a condom during sex without consent. This practice is nonconsensual and doing so turns consensual sex into non consensual sex.
Stealthing is sexual assault.
When you consent to sex with a condom, that doesn't mean you consent to sex without a condom. They are two very different things. Stealthing puts a person at risk physically, emotionally, and financially.
There are also feelings of violation of their bodies and their trust. A victim in the report said that stealthing felt like a "rape-adjacent".
Stealthing is dangerous.
The risks of stealthing include unwanted pregnancy, possible contraction of sexually transmitted infections and the feeling of being violated. Because this practice isn't widely known or talked about, women don't know what to call it.
In the Columbia report, a woman, Rebecca, works at a rape crisis center and is a victim of this practice herself. She says, "Their stories often start out the same way: I'm not sure if this is rape, but..."
There are forums and websites dedicated to stealthing.
In the report, internet forums are mentioned for perpetrators of stealthing to give advice for tricking a partner, encouragement for stealthing, and how to stealth.
Those who practice stealthing justify it by saying it's a natural male instinct and even going so far as to call it a right for a man to "spread his seed". Stealthers on forums go so far as to say their sexual partners deserve to be impregnated because "that's how god created this universe, we are born to do it."
There is little legal recourse.
In the United States, it's hard for victims of sexual assault to get legal action. For victims of stealthing, it's even harder. Currently in the United States, there is no legal record of a stealthing case (it's worth noting that a man in Switzerland was convicted of stealthing).
In the report, victims of stealthing say they hadn't considered legal options. The report examines potential avenues for stealthing victims, such as criminal law, tort law or civil rights options for victims.
Stealthing is sexual assault. And while it may not be widely recognized by US law or the public, stealthing is a huge breach of trust and bodily autonomy.
If you are a victim of stealthing or other sexual violence, you can contact RAINN at 1-800-656-4673 or at their website.