Is “stealth” illegal? What to know about the secret sex act

sex and relationships

March 15, 2023 | 4:14 p.m.

A man in the Netherlands has become the first person in the country to be convicted of “infiltration”.

The 28-year-old attacker, Khaldoun F., ended up in Dordrecht District Court after being charged with secretly removing his condom while having sex with a woman last summer, the report reported. NLTimes.

The woman had agreed to have sex with a condom on, but F. unwittingly took it off when the couple were allegedly kissing before having sex.

He pleaded guilty and was charged with coercion, but was cleared of rape charges.

On Tuesday, F. was sentenced to three months probation and fined €1,000 (about $1,060).

The mental and physical consequences of “stealth” are obvious to its victims, but what legal recourse is there for those accused of the insidious act of sexual violence?

For victims of stealth, the consequences are obvious, such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and psychological trauma. But what recourse is there for those accused of this insidious and manipulative sexual act? It all depends on who you ask and where the transgression occurred.

Read on to learn more about the history and legal debate surrounding stealth.

Stealth is when someone removes or tampers with a condom without their sexual partner’s consent.
Getty Images

What is Stealth?

Stealth occurs when a person leads their partner to believe that they intend to use a condom during sex before withdrawing or relinquishing its use without the consent and knowledge of their counterpart. The cheating act is considered by experts to be an act of forced unprotected sex.

The act was first defined in a 2017 Yale University study that reported instances of “adjacent rape” tactics increasingly experienced by women and gay men. The newspaper also cited the existence of a disturbing online community that believes it is a man’s right to “propagate” and encourages them to “cover up” their partners.

Is stealth illegal in the United States?

California became the first state to ban the sexual act in 2021, although it is not considered a criminal offense.

The measure amended the state’s civil code, adding the law to the state’s definition of sex battery. The amendment clarifies that victims can sue perpetrators when a condom is removed without obtaining verbal consent. In many cases, a defendant convicted of theft can be held liable for financial damages.

California Democratic Congresswoman Cristina Garcia initially campaigned to make it a crime in 2017 after the Yale study was published.

The Erotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research Project supported Garcia’s bill, saying it could allow sex workers to sue clients who remove condoms.

Meanwhile, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Wisconsin have all proposed similar bills.

In 2017, New York Senator Diane J. Savino first drafted a bill that would allow someone to sue their partner for damages for “the removal and tampering without consent of a protective device.” sexual”.

California became the first and only state to ban stealth in 2021.
Getty Images/RF Science Photo Library

However, the law was never passed and is currently pending before the committee.

Congressional lawmakers also pushed to criminalize stealth for several years without success. More recently, Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Norma J. Torres, and Ro Khanna introduced two bills intended to help legally protect victims of stealth.

The Consent Act is Key would encourage states to pass their own laws allowing undercover victims to collect civil damages by increasing funding levels for federal domestic violence prevention programs in those states. And the Stealthing Act of 2022 would specifically classify stealth as a form of sexual violence and create a federal civil right of action allowing survivors to sue and collect damages.

Is stealth considered rape?

The question of whether stealth is considered rape or not is at the heart of the discussion.

As the original Yale study shows, some — especially proponents of stealth — say the act does not rise to the level of rape. However, sexual violence researchers strongly believe that stealth is and should be considered rape as it deals with issues of sex and consent – ​​and places like Australia, England and Wales have legally listed it as such.

In 2017, a Swiss court convicted a man of rape after stealing from his partner, finding the victim would have refused sex if she had known the condom would not be used.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers argue that stealth falls in a gray area somewhere between consensual sex and rape, viewing it more loosely as a form of sexual assault or violence.

Where else in the world is stealth banned?

Stealth is restricted in several countries around the world, including England, Wales, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Singapore and Australia.

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