A stealth fighter approaches the enemy without being detected by radar and launches a stealth attack. The uncertainty causes the enemy fear and may lead to a nervous breakdown. What if this stealth attack happened in your bed? A recently discussed type of sexual violence called stealthing has become a new fear for many.
It’s not just a lie. It’s violence.
What is stealthing?
Derived from the word stealth, which means carrying an action out secretly, stealthing refers to the act of secretly removing or damaging a contraception method during sex without the partner’s consent.
☑️ Typical examples of stealthing
- Secretly taking off a condom during sex or poking holes in a condom
- Not using a condom or preventing the partner from using a contraceptive method by lying about a vasectomy, infertility, or lack of STI
Stealthing inflicts severe physical and psychological damage on its victims. In addition to the risk of unintended pregnancy and STI infection, they suffer from the aftermath of betrayal by a trusted partner. They are often unaware of what has happened and deal with it too late, increasing the damage.
☑️ Why do they stealth?
A study found that 32% of women attending a sexual health clinic in Australia have experienced stealthing.
Researchers point out that the perpetrators of stealthing see it as their right, not violence. They justified their violence in several online communities by insisting that “men are hardwired to spread their seeds.” They even promoted stealthing by sharing tips on pressuring and tricking the partner into being stealthed.
Alexandra Brodsky, an attorney, analyzed that although the perpetrators had various motives, the common ground was ‘misogyny’ and ‘proving male sexual superiority.’
Is stealthing a sex crime?
Sex without consent is rape, a form of sexual violence that is clearly a crime. Thus, stealthing is also a form of violence as it involves refusing to use contraception without the partner’s consent. In order for stealthing to be considered a sex crime subject to criminal prosecution, an introduction of the consent-based model of sexual assault is necessary. However, many countries still rely on a coercion-based model of rape which requires proof of coercion, violence, physical force or threat of physical force in order for the act to amount to rape. This often requires the victim to submit proof of actively resisting the assault, and fails to address the mental and psychological harm caused.
Let’s take a look at stealthing cases around the world:
How to protect yourself from stealthing
Stealthing is violent, disrespectful, and deceptive by nature. It is not easy to notice that someone intends to deceive you. This means there are clear limits to preventing stealth from happening. However, these tips may help minimize the impact when it happens:
✔️Bring your own condoms
To prevent using punctured or expired condoms, bring condoms and have your partner use yours. It can allay the concerns about condom integrity.
✔️ Check the condom during and immediately after sex
Check your partner’s penis and condom during intercourse. After each ejaculation, don’t forget to check it out when your partner removes their penis from your vagina. It can be reassuring to confirm immediately after intercourse that the condom was properly worn.
✔️ Use birth control pills
Try Double Dutch (dual contraceptive use) using both condoms and birth control pills. It can prevent unintended pregnancy when the perpetrator attempts stealthing.
- Stealthing refers to the act of secretly removing or damaging a contraception method before or during sex without the partner’s consent
- Stealthing is not just a lie but violence that puts the victim in physical and psychological danger
- Although there is no legal basis for criminal penalties against the perpetrators of stealthing in Korea, there is a movement for change