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Stealthing isn’t a trend - it’s sexual assault


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Over the past week 'stealthing' dominated headlines, with many articles referring to is as “a new sexual trend”.

A new study by Alexandra Brodsky, of Yale Law School, has created a discussion around the issue.

Stealthing is when a man removes his condom part-way through sex without the consent of their sexual partner.

But non-consensual condom removal isn’t a lighthearted joke and shouldn’t be frivolously labelled a trend. So let’s call stealthing what it really is - which is rape.

The way some media outlets and people on the internet have been talking about stealthing is disgusting and wrong. 

In her study Brodsky says stealthing is now "a common practice among young, sexually active people” and is “experienced by many as a grave violation of dignity and autonomy.”

She also argues that stealthing is a form of sexual assault and should be treated as such. This is clearly a very serious issue and should, therefore, not be treated as a joke. 

Speaking to the Huffington Post Brodksy said: “One of my goals with the article, and in proposing a new statute, is to provide a vocabulary and create ways for people to talk about what is a really common experience that just is too often dismissed as just ‘bad sex’ instead of ‘violence'."

Stealthing wasn't a term I had heard of before last week, and although I was aware of non-consenual condom removal, I was unaware the practice was so commonplace. It's very important things like stealthing are discussed openly so that we create a culture which condemns this sickening act and encourage victims to speak out and seek support. 

People who commit stealthing can be reported to the police, because it is a crime. 

As reported by the Indpependent, Clíona Saidléar of Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) says that stealthing "would be defined as an assault under Irish law". In Switzerland, a court recently convicted a man of rape after he took his condom off mid-way through sex, without the knowledge or consent of his sexual partner. 

It's sad that in 2017 we still have to make it clear to some people that taking off a condom without your sexual partners knowledge or consent is sexual assualt.

In an article discussing Brodksy's study, the Huffington Post notes how there are some online communities who “defend stealthing as a male right”. 

The fact that communities like this even exist should be proof enough that the conversation surrounding stealthing should not include words like "trend."

It doesn't matter if an article refers to stealthing as a "trend" and then goes on to condone it. There must be no doubt that stealthing is wrong, that it is a serious issue, and that the way we discuss it and the language we use sends out a clear message of this.

Referring to stealthing as a "trend" makes it sound positive. Sexual assault is not acceptable and the language we used must convey this. 

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