There is an old cruel sexual trend that has a new name. Stealthing is a growing phenomenon that you have to protect yourself from. This is how to do it
As if many women [and men] don’t have a lot of social ills to deal with there is a sexual offense that many didn’t know how to approach or pinpoint until now. Stealthing is when a guy secretly removes a condom during sex, an act that they can be charged for. I was shocked a couple of years ago when one of my colleagues proudly admitted to stealthing. I laughed it off, hoping that he was joking but he blankly stared, waiting for me to stop laughing and start gaping at him. I asked why he did that and if he wasn’t afraid of contracting illnesses. He shrugged his shoulders, stating that it was for fun. Oh, and he added that he mainly did that to spite some of his exes whom he was able to lure back to his bed. I honestly found it shocking because he looked too mature for what I think is childish and selfish behaviour.
According to Johannesburg-based counseling psychologist Hazel Kurian, there are a number of reasons men stealth. One of the biggest reasons is that men purposefully attempt to impregnate their partner. “Either way, there is an underlying theme around power,” says Kurian.
“Stealthing opens up the risk of contracting an STI or having an unwanted pregnancy, and there is the added element of taking away a partner’s autonomy over their body by actively going against their wishes.” Furthermore, men who perform such acts believe that they have a right over their partner’s bodies and that their partner’s wishes can be overlooked or ignored.
Sex shouldn’t come with the added burden of worrying about STIs and even unwanted pregnancy, especially when there is consent [which should always be the case]. Stealthing not only takes away the victim’s power but it leaves them feeling scarred and traumatised. This is why it’s very important for you to protect yourself, especially if you choose to engage in casual intercourse. With that said, if you feel you have been stealthed Kurian advises you take the following measures:
Blame where blame is due: remember that it is not your fault if someone did this to you. Do not take on the responsibility for someone else’s callous and injurious decisions and actions. Also, it is important to remember that, regardless of what your sexual partner may say stealthing IS a sexual assault.
Visit a doctor: consult with a GP as soon as possible to rule out pregnancy or STI’s. Depending on whether you want to take legal action, you may need to ask for the doctor to use a rape kit, as this will collect DNA samples for a case.
Get Support: Reach out and talk to someone close to you, who you trust and who you know will have your best interest at heart. You shouldn’t go through something like this by yourself.
Get Professional Help: You may also benefit from consulting with a trained professional for debriefing, as stealthing may lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder down the line.
Legal: Consult with a legal advisor to know what your rights are and what action you can take. Even if you choose to not go the legal route access as much information as you can to be in a better position to make a decision that is best for you.
Disrupt: On a macro and micro level. People can and need to speak out about gender-based violence more, whether they have been victims or not. The more issues such as these are spoken about in public forums, the less tolerated they can become within the fabric of our families, communities, and society.
For more information on stealthing contact People Opposing Women Abuse [Powa.co.za]
For counseling services contact Hazel on: