The disturbing practice of 'stealthing'—removing condoms during sex without your partner's consent—is on the rise, posing new challenges for victims of assault to get help. A recently published study is trying to change this by exploring the practice in further detail and offering insight on the legal process victims must undergo to get justice.
According to HuffPost, the study features interviews with victims of stealthing, as well as insight into a culture of misogyny that leaves some men feeling like they have a right to condom-less sex, with or without their partner's consent.
Alexandra Brodsky wrote the study for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law after personally witnessing friends being exposed to similar behaviors and assaults by their sexual partners.
Brodsky argued in the study that because there is no "vocabulary" around the practice, many victims are left feeling just as bad as other sexual assault survivors, but aren't sure how to talk about what happened to them, or if it even counts as sexual assault. That means they don't end up getting the help they need. And if they do seek help, according to CNN, victims end up facing the many biases of the justice system—for example, if the victim and the perpetrator had a relationship, jurors might not think the stealthing is a real problem.
“I worry that victims [of stealthing] might struggle in court using current laws,” Brodsky told CNN.
Brian Pinero, Vice President of Victim Services for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, echoed Brodsky’s worries and reiterated how important consent is at all times.
“You only consent to however far you want to go,” he told CNN. Consent means that both partners agreed to a sexual activity before the act occurs. Consenting to have sex with a condom isn’t the same thing as agreeing to have sex without one, for example. So 'stealthing’ is not just a disturbing trend—it’s sexual assault.