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Practice Called ‘Stealthing’ Needs To Be Addressed, Study Says

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A new trend called “stealthing” has raised concerns among criminal and civil justice authorities, as this disturbing practice of removing condoms during sex without a partners’ consent seems to be garnering online traction.

A new study revealed that online communities of both gay and straight men are encouraging others to carry out stealthing, which is a “rape-adjacent” act, Fox News reports.

Alexandra Brodsky, study author and a legal fellow for National Women’s Law Center, interviewed victims of this practice. She likewise explored the online communities promoting the notion to “spread their seed” and “root their support [for the practice] in an ideology of male supremacy in which violence is a man’s natural right,” Brodsky told Huffington Post.

Brodsky’s study, which she wrote independently from her job, contains comments from forums wherein members exchange tips, give advice and support, and list best practices for how to discreetly remove a condom during sex without their partner’s consent or knowledge.

In the United States, this practice is not legally defined as rape, but a case in Switzerland was convicted of rape, Brodsky says. She adds that stealthing exposes victims to similar emotional and psychological consequences as rape, such as feelings of shame and violation, a loss of dignity and freedom, not to mention the risk of pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted infections.

Brodsky encourages victims of stealthing to come forward and demand justice, as there is no legal statute defining this act as sexual assault. She says that the justice system needs improvement in this area, as “many of the myths and assumptions and forms of skepticism that we see from judges approaching rape victims and other kinds of sexual assault victims are likely to be present in stealthing cases.”

She adds that, “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.”

The study was published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.

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