WASHINGTON - A disturbing new trend called “stealthing” is making its way into bedrooms nationwide, but there is nothing sexy about it and can be even dangerous.
Stealthing is when a man secretly removes his condom during sex without telling his partner and without their consent. The men are then describing their account of it on social media leaving their partners humiliated and confused.
The act is now raising questions whether it can be considered rape.
According to DC Rape Crisis Center executive director Indira Henard, she believes “it is rape because there is no consent, and if there is no consent, then it is rape.”
Henard said victims of this sexual trend started calling their hotline a couple months ago and the calls have picked up in the last 30 days. She said most of the people they are seeing affected are college students.
“We are getting a lot of hotline calls as well as folks who are coming in for counseling, particularly our college-age students who are experiencing this,” Henard said.
The biggest obstacle for victims is stealthing is not legally defined as rape in the U.S. court system.
College students we spoke with at American University and Howard University in Washington D.C. had mixed reactions about stealthing. Most agreed that removing a condom without consent and posting about it online is some type of violation.
“To me, that is a form of rape,” said sophomore Jonelle Parker.
“I don't think that's okay in any form ever,” said junior college student Andrew Eversden. “I think it's a violation of consensual sex.”
“It’s an invasion of trust and promotes rape culture,” said freshman Brooke Christensen. “It's very inexcusable.”
“Even though it's really bad, I don't think it's rape because you did give consent,” said sophomore Imani Adams.
“I wouldn't put it in the category of rape, but I do think that it is a violation of a woman's privacy,” said sophomore Marcellis Wilburn.
The awareness about this troubling trend comes on the heels of a Columbia Journal of Gender and Law report by D.C.-based National Women's Law Center attorney Alexandra Brodsky. She said stealthing exposes victims to pregnancy, disease and transforms consensual sex into non-consensual sex. She goes on to describe stealthing as sexual violence.
The stealthing trend is also taking place among gay men.