"Stealthing" officially criminalised in the ACT.
Stealthing, the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex, entered the cultural lexicon relatively recently but damaging consequences for victims have been prevalent for years.
Canberra Liberal leader Elizabeth Lee introduced new legislation on Sunday to amend current consent provisions under the crimes act. The changes explicitly state that a person’s consent is negated if the other person intentionally misrepresents using a condom.
The legislation was passed unanimously – which in the current global climate for women’s safety is hugely welcomed fact.
The new legislation means that any “intentional fraudulent representation” about the use of a condom during sex will now be recognised as a crime.
Sparked by an ongoing stealthing case in the Victorian courts, Ms. Lee strove to secure the bill in order to avoid similar, drawn-out legal processes.
“We cannot wait for cases to come before the courts before stealthing is specifically outlawed”, she said.
“We need to act proactively and send a clear message to community that his behaviour in unacceptable, and crime.”
Lee acknowledges that having concrete laws regarding consent issues such a stealthing is a positive start, but that the issue runs deeper.
“There is a reluctance to talk about consent openly and frankly. This needs to change, with effort from all sectors – community organisations, policymakers, law makers, law enforcement, educators.”
Teach Us Consent, a platform lobbying for and providing holistic consent and sexual education created by Chanel Contos, shared anecdotal evidence of the physical and psychological impact of stealthing on victims.
One such experience submitted to Teach Us Consent stated: "He gave me HPV which has associated impacts leading me to be put through four years of specialist gynaecologist visits costing 100s of dollars and significantly impacting mentally, physically and emotionally.”
This anecdote is sadly not an anomaly.
A Monash University study of more than 2,000 people in 2018 found that, of those surveyed, one in three women who'd had sex with men had been stealthed.