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The ACT Becomes First In Australia To Make 'Heinous' Act Of Stealthing Illegal

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The ACT Becomes First In Australia To Make 'Heinous' Act Of Stealthing Illegal

The Australian Capital Territory has become the first state or territory in Australia to make stealthing illegal.

It's the act of removing a condom during sex without the partner's consent, with some campaigners saying it amounts to sexual assault or even rape.

The term was popularised by a moment in the critically acclaimed series I May Destroy You, which started an international conversation on people's experiences with the now-illegal act.

Stealthing was already described in existing criminal law in the ACT, however this new legislation means the act will be 'beyond doubt' of being a crime.

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The bill was introduced by Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee and it was given unanimous support.

After the legislation was approved, Ms Lee said: "Stealthing is a traumatic thing for any person to go through and I am very proud that the ACT has passed nation-leading reforms to specifically criminalise this heinous act.

"A stealthing case has been before the Victorian courts for over two years and the victim is still without a result.

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"We cannot wait for cases to come before courts before stealthing is specifically outlawed - we need to act proactively and send a clear message to the community that this behaviour is unacceptable and a crime."

Stealthing is unbelievably common in Australia. A study conducted here revealed that one in three women and one in five queer men have experienced it at least once.

"Survivors [of stealthing] describe nonconsensual condom removal as a threat to their bodily agency and as a dignitary harm," study author Alexandra Brodsky told the Independent.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy
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"'You have no right to make your own sexual decisions,' they are told. 'You are not worthy of my consideration.'"

Places all around the world have been slowly introducing their own forms of legislation to ensure perpetrators get the justice they deserve.

Not only can it lead to unwanted pregnancies, but also sexually transmitted infections and diseases, and can cause a host of mental health issues like depression, anxiety and even PTSD.

Elizabeth Lee said back April: "Stealthing is an appalling thing to do to any woman; any man; any person. It completely erodes the trust that a person can put in someone during the most vulnerable of moments. It is a violation of dignity and autonomy."

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Earlier this year, a New Zealand man was convicted of rape after stealthing a sexual partner.

He was sentenced to three years and nine months for the act after his victim gave a harrowing account of how stealthing affected her.

She said the 2018 moment changed her world view and she now almost never leaves home alone.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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