Stealthing is a term that has been in the news lately, and it's important to know what it means. It refers to the act of secretly removing or tampering with a condom during sexual intercourse without the knowledge or consent of your partner. This is a serious violation of trust and can lead to unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and emotional harm.
An Australian study of visitors to a sexual health centre found that 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 5 men reported being Stealthed.
It's important to remember that you are not alone if you have experienced Stealthing. There is no shame in seeking help or talking to someone about what happened. It's important to take care of your emotional and physical health and seek support from a healthcare provider or therapist.
While stealthing is a serious issue, it's also important to know that there are resources and support available for those who have experienced it. Organisations and advocates are working to raise awareness about Stealthing and its harmful effects. Additionally, in the UK this is a crime and classed as sexual assault.
Overall, it's important to have open and honest conversations about consent and sexual ethics to prevent Stealthing from happening in the first place. Remember that you have the right to make decisions about your body and your sexual health, and that it's never okay for someone to violate your trust and autonomy. A great tip, to be extra safe is to always carry your own condoms, regardless of if you have a penis or not.
Stealthing is portrayed in the powerful BBC Three series 'I May Destroy You' where Arabella discovers this has happened and only realised later down the line that it was sexual assault.
What should you do if you have been 'Stealthed'?
- Please don't blame yourself - thanks to our society victims of sexual assault are often blamed but it's important to remind yourself that it is not your fault. You consented to having protected sex, not unprotected. Be kind to yourself.
- Order a STI Kit - Wait a few weeks (to give potential STIs time to show) and then order an STI kit to be sure.
- Don't be afraid to reach out - If you need some advice or just an impartial person to talk to, please reach out to sexual assault helplines.