Sneaking a condom off, without the partner’s knowledge, during the course of sexual intercourse will from now on be considered another form of sexual assault, also criminalized in the civil code of California, the first U.S. state to take this step in defense of women’s rights. Although this law applies to both female and male victims, figures from different U.S. university studies on this sexual assault reveal that those who suffer from this type of practice are girls and women.
Unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and psychological consequences are some of the consequences for victims of “stealthing”, as this maneuver is known. The road to punish this practice was not easy for California legislator Cristina Garcia, who had to battle for four years for this new law, now in force, to be approved in the Legislature of the golden state.
From now on, victims will be able to denounce what happened and request compensation for the damages caused, whether physical or psychological. In the particular case of this woman, who has experienced this type of episode on two occasions with different men, she asserts that on the second occasion it happened to her she contracted genital herpes, a disease that cannot be cured and that has caused her pain and discomfort for several years.
What prompted legislator Garcia to push for this regulation were hundreds of misogynistic comments in online communities of men who encourage and advise taking off condoms without permission during sex with women to demonstrate “male dominance.”
In those online forums, users provide advice with “explicit descriptions,” according to Garcia, on how to successfully trick their partners into taking off the condom without consent.
Now that California has taken the initiative to penalize this maneuver, the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), Christian Nunes, hopes that other states or the federal Congress will begin to legislate in this direction.
So far, some legislators in the states of New York and Wisconsin have tried – unsuccessfully – to pass laws similar to the one recently authorized in California. Although Nunes believes the California law “is a great start at the state level,” she is convinced that Washington should be “consistent” with current events and declare that condom removal is another form of sexual abuse of women.
“It’s sexual abuse because you’re acting against the other person’s will,” says Nunes, who heads the largest feminist organization in the U.S. with more than 500,000 members, without hesitation.