Women have been warned to be extra vigilant in the wake of a violating sexual trend called Stealthing. The trend sees men remove condoms halfway through the act of sex, despite initially agreeing to wear one – without the female partner becoming aware that he is doing so. The experience for far too long has been dismissed as just ‘bad sex’ or an ‘accidental slip of the condom’ instead of what it actually is – a form of violence.
The alarming trend, which was published in a paper written for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, explains how consensual sex between adults has been transformed into non-consensual and should be treated as a form of assault especially since the some of these men go to the extent of purposefully damaging the condom during sex.
The growing phenomenon has led to a number of concerns including the growing number of women who have been ‘stealthed’, the growing psychological trauma that comes with the assault and the growing number of victims left susceptible to diseases, infections and potential pregnancy.
What’s even more frightening is the number of perpetrators who brag about this practice online. Their conversation goes from how they encourage each other to stealth their partners by not just removing but even biting the condoms or poking holes in them.
As far as the conversation goes, the victims deserve the kind of services and support that a victim of rape gets. The study warns that the effects are more or less the same as that of rape because the removal of the condom exposes victims to physical risks of pregnancy and disease and the experience is seen as a grave violation of dignity, the victim’s autonomy and the trust they had mistakenly placed in their sexual partner. The victims also experienced the condom removal as a disempowering, demeaning violation of a sexual agreement
The cases of stealthing still go unreported, just like rape.
Rape is still considered a taboo topic in our society, and as a result, many victims chose to suffer in silence and unfortunately, the biggest challenge is the silence of the victims, who view rape as shameful and refuse to open up about what happened to them.
However, as much as the stigma associated with rape is sometimes often too great for victims to bear that most victims shove their experiences deep down to a pit that cannot be opened and the scars of the psychological trauma are revered as too great for the rape victims leading to severe bouts of depression, anger and self-loathing, this act should not go unreported.
Women who have been ‘stealthed’ often don’t know how to talk about it, mostly because they don’t know when it’s happening.
Here are a few things to be on the lookout for:
- Check if he’s over attentive especially after he puts on the condom. The key word here is over-attentive. Some men like to be very sure that the condom is still in place but if you suspect something wrong then he becomes agitated, you have the right to stop.
- Use condoms you can feel. Sometimes slip-ups happen by mistake and after consent is expressed, people tend to relax and enjoy the ride. It’s easier to notice a slip-up with textured condoms
If it happens to you, talk to someone, speak out and accept the support given in order to help you cope with and be able to recover from the experience.