Washington representative Melissa Sargent has introduced a bill that will officially define “stealthing” as an act of sexual assault, NBC News reports. Stealthing is the the slang term given to the act of removing a condom during intercourse without the knowledge of the other participant. Such actions are intrusive, dangerous and “clearly a crime,” Sargent believes. That’s why she hopes Bill LRB3346 will help define the ethical grey areas previously thought to surround the action.
“Sexual predators will continue to find new, egregious ways to violate and victimize others, and it’s important that as legislators we take concerted steps to be responsive as we become aware of it,” Sargent told NBC News. “This behavior is predatory and disturbing, and people should know we not only find it reprehensible, but that we won’t tolerate it. Ignoring it is simply not an option.”
The point of the bill is to clarify the nuances surrounding consent, and to state that consent to sex with a condom is not the same as consent to sex without a condom. Just because consent was given for the former does not mean the latter is ok. This was an argument given by many supporters of stealthing, and while it may seem like a ridiculous notion, the lack of certainty has made it difficult to deal with on a legal level. Others say it is a man’s “right” to be able to have sex without a condom, as humans are programmed with the desire to spread their DNA.
While stealthing is not a new phenomenon, the bill was inspired by the recent increase in attention the dangerous sex trend has been receiving, especially through online platforms.
A study on the act of stealthing was published earlier this year in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, and defines it as “rape-adjacent.” This article has been viewed over 50,000 times, and advocates for defining the act as a form of sexual assault- which it very much is.
Facts About Stealthing:
1. Stealthing affects both the gay and straight communities, putting both men and women at risk.
2. In January of 2017, a French man was arrested in Switzerland under charges of rape after engaging in the act of stealthing.
After this offense, Attorney Hunter Chamberlain was asked about America’s stance on this form of assault, to which he responded “to change this from a legal behavior to an illegal behavior, the legislature or the courts are going to have to further define what consent means.”
3. There are communities online dedicated to bragging about stealthing and sharing tips on how to do so.
Stealthing is a high-risk activity that violates the basic human rights of the unaware party, effectively stripping them of their own autonomy. While the bill has not been cleared yet, it is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to dealing with this deplorable act.