In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor discuss “Stealthing”. This term refers to non-consensual condom removal during sex.
Stealthing falls under Section 74 of The Sexual Offences Act 2003 which states that Consent is when “a person consents if he/she agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice”. Under UK law, consent is required for each sexual act and is specific to the agreed-upon. Removal of a condom intentionally during penetrative intercourse without consent is sexual assault.
There is no data on stealthing rates in the UK and there is only one widely known conviction of “stealthing” in the UK. The man was convicted in 2019 and since, Feleena and Alan have assisted that individual bring a related civil claim.
This issue was explored last year, in the BBC One drama “I May Destroy You” and discussed in our previous podcast episode. The main character Arabella has sex with a man who removes the condom without her knowledge. Like many women, Arabella doesn’t realise it’s rape until she hears it discussed on a podcast.
In addition to clear harm of disregard for consent and illegality of Stealthing, there are two other clear risks. It increases the likelihood of pregnancy and of Sexually Transmitted Infections. It is unfair that those who have taken the step to protect themselves, by using a condom, to be put at a risk of harm against their consent.
We encourage anyone who has experienced “stealthing” to contact the police or other supportive organisation.