One in three women and one in five men have experienced stealth, which is the removal of a condom during sex without a partner’s verbal consent.
Legislation introduced last week would create a new federal civil rights violation of “condom theft” – the removal of a condom during sex without a partner’s verbal consent, causing someone to have unprotected sex without his consent. Introduced by U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), Norma J. Torres (D-Calif.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the bill recognizes the right to sexual self-determination, including including the right to choose what conditions are placed on consent to sex.
“Stealth is a serious violation of autonomy, dignity and trust that is considered emotional and sexual abuse,” Maloney said. “Congress has an obligation to fight stealth at the federal level and allow survivors to hold accountable those who covered them up. Stealth is a horrible act of sexual violence and must stop. »
“Stealth or non-consensual condom removal is a violation of trust and dignity and a dangerous form of sexual assault,” Khanna said. “We must do more to protect the victims.”
Maloney, Torres and Khanna introduced two bills:
- The Stealth Act of 2022 would create a federal civil right of action for survivors of non-consensual condom removal.
- The Consent is the key act Encourage states to voluntarily pass laws allowing civil damages for survivors of non-consensual condom removal by increasing funding levels for federal domestic violence prevention programs in states that pass such laws.
“Consent is key, it’s as simple as that,” Torres said. “Non-consensual condom removal is sexual violence that can have lifelong consequences, and survivors of this violence deserve their voices heard and justice served. This legislation will ensure that survivors can turn to the courts for help and will strengthen federal domestic violence programs to help as many survivors as possible. Everyone deserves to have their autonomy respected.
Both pieces of legislation were based on a California law passed last October, making it a civil sexual offense for someone to remove a condom during sex without the verbal consent of their partner. The law allows victims of infiltration to sue their perpetrators for damages. California was the first state to pass a law against condom theft.
In a 2017 Yale study, civil rights lawyer Alexandra Brodsky interviewed men and women survivors of the stealth, which she describes as a “serious violation of dignity and autonomy” and a “demeaning and demeaning violation of an agreement sexual”. A young woman told her partner that a condom was non-negotiable and that she would leave if he preferred not to use one. He agreed, but then secretly removed the condom during sex.
Survivors of stealth suffered mental trauma as well as fears of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. A 2019 Stealth Survey found that “men who had a history of nonconsensual condom removal were significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (29.5% versus 15.1%) or to have had a partner who had an unplanned pregnancy (46.7% vs. 25.8%).”
The survey also revealed that men who engaged in stealth had greater hostility toward women and misogynistic contempt for them.
Condom theft has received increased attention in recent years. According to a 2018 Australian study, one in three women and one in five men have been stealthy. Another study found that 12% women aged between 21 and 30 reported having had a partner who engaged in stealth. Allegations of sexual assault against Julian Assange included charges of tampering with a condom during sex. And the recent series by Michaela Coel I can destroy you represented stealth as on domination and power.
Several countries around the world have criminalized stealth, including Switzerland, Canada, Germany and Australia. In April last year, New Zealand prosecutors won their first successful stealth chase in a case against a man who agreed to use a condom with a sex worker and then removed it during sex.
“Stealth is a horrible act that is all too common in this country. The act of stealth disrespects someone’s trust, which puts that person at risk for unwanted pregnancies and STDs,” said Samantha Cadet, Director of Federal Affairs for RAINN. “These pieces of legislation will address stealth as a violation of personal autonomy and deserving of legal recognition.”
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