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04th Nov 2022

“Stealthing” could see offenders head to prison for life in Australia

Ellen Fitzpatrick

“Stealthing is more common than most people believe.”

Stealthing could see offenders going to prison for life in Australia after it was outlawed in one Australian state.

Stealthing is the act when a condom is removed during sex without consent and is to be criminalised in South Australia after it was approved by the state parliament’s upper house this week.

According to a study carried out by Monash University in 2018, one in three women and one in five men have experienced stealthing while having sex with a man.

The National Library of Medicine published a paper in 2019 that said 12% of women aged between 21 and 30 had reported an experience of the act.

South Australia Best MP Connie Bonaros described the act this week as a “repugnant and disgusting act of betrayal” and called for it to have been criminalised years ago.

“Under the new legislation, the removal of a condom during sex without the consent of the other person will now be a crime punishable by up to life imprisonment,” she said.

“Stealthing is more common than most people believe, with a recent study revealing that one in three women and one in five men who had sex with men had been the victim of stealthing – that’s a shocking statistic.

“You can’t begin to imagine the level of damage to both a person’s physical and psychological well being.

“This includes the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted infection and/or disease, unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, severe mental health/depression, and in some reported cases, post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Such grotesque acts of indecency deserve to be treated in the same manner as rape and a crime punishable by terms of imprisonment.”

Attorney general Kyam Maher explained: “There have been many calls from advocates to criminalise this under state law to make sure we’re explicitly ruling this as a crime.

“Other states have moved in this direction — Tasmania and the ACT have already passed laws.”

Stealthing is classed as a sexual assault under Irish law and is considered a very serious offence. In parts of the UK and US, stealthing has been made an illegal offence.