The ACT Has Outlawed Stealthing, The “Heinous Act” Of Removing A Condom Without Consent

One in three women have experienced stealthing.


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The Australian Capital Territory has become the first jurisdiction in the country to outlaw ‘stealthing‘ — the act of removing a condom during sex without permission.

Under the changes, stealthing has now been recognised as sexual assault and clarified beyond doubt that it is an illegal offence under the Crimes Act.

Stealthing is committed against one in three women, and one in five queer men, according to a 2018 Monash University study. As well as being a major violation of consent and trust, stealthing also increases exposure to potential STIs or unwanted pregnancies. The Bill was brought forward by state opposition leader Elizabeth Lee in the Legislative Assembly, who said there was no case precedence to fully protect victims.

“I know that many people have experienced stealthing but were unsure or aghast that our laws did not reflect community sentiment that this is a heinous act, that it is a crime,” said Lee. “Stealthing is an appalling thing to do to anyone, and we know that it has long-lasting impacts on the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of victims.”

“It violates our bodily autonomy in the most intimate of moments and victims have spoken about the impact that it has on their ability to trust people,” she said.

Advocate Brittany Higgins championed the amendment on Twitter, sharing her congratulations to Lee and her efforts. “This Bill is an important step in demonstrating that Australia will no longer tolerate sexual assault in any form,” she wrote.

California is also expected to outlaw stealthing after a push to make it a civil offence last month.

If this article has brought up any issues for you personally, here are some places you can get help:
1800 Respect
Sexual Assault Crisis Line
Beyond Blue