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(Chris Jackson Pool/Getty Images)


When men secretly remove condom during sex, women have little legal recourse

April 28, 2017

Concerns over a practice known as “stealthing” — when a man, or woman, secretly removes or damages a condom without their partner’s knowledge — has led some lawyers to advocate for a new civil law to help clarify the line between consent and sexual assault.

Alexandra Brodsky, the author of an article for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law in which she argued that “stealthing” should be given an official legal name, said that those victimized by the practice may find they have little legal recourse.

“I worry that victims (of stealthing) might struggle in court using current laws,” said Brodsky, who now serves as a fellow at the National Women’s Law Center. Even in more clear-cut cases of sexual assault, Brodsky noted, jurors were unlikely to convict. According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds in the U.S., but only six out of every 1,000 perpetrators goes to jail.

Since the publishing of her article, Brodsky said that women and men had begun reaching out to her to share their own stories of victimhood.

“I’ve heard from a startling number of people,” she said. “A lot of people just didn’t know what to call it.”

Brodsky prefers calling the practice “nonconsensual condom removal” rather than “stealthing,” a term she said sounds too much “like a fad.”

“By calling it nonconsensual condom removal,” she explained, “we make clear what the harm is.”

By changing the law to explicitly make such behaviors illegal, she added, both jurors and society at large might reconsider the seriousness with which they treat such cases.

“Marital rape used to be legal in a lot of states,” Brodsky noted. “The shift away from that not only meant that there was recourse (for victims) … but it also meant that we as a society reconceptualized women’s rights to their own bodies in marriages. Law can be a powerful tool for shaping social norms.”

Read the full story at CNN.


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