“Stealthing”: “I didn’t know it was rape until it happened to me”


Two years ago Gemma (not her real name) had sex with a man who removed the condom without her knowledge or consent.

The “stealthing“, Or non-consensual condom removal, is a violation under UK law, but there has only been one successful prosecution, and that was in 2019.

“I didn’t know anything about him stealthing until it happened to me, ”he told BBC Newsbeat.

“It was only after that that I realized what I had done and felt very upset and worried.

I took the morning after pillBut when I didn’t get my period the next month, I took a pregnancy test. “

Gemma says the test came back positive and she was surprised to find out she was pregnant.

‘He told me it was £ 50 for an abortion’

“I was really angry, sensitive and confused. I texted the boy, but to he does not it seemed to himor what was it a big problem and she told me that ‘it only cost about £ 50 to have an abortion’, but it changed my life a lot.

“In the end, I decided to end the pregnancy, but it was a very difficult decision to make. I punished myself a lot because I wanted a baby but I knew they were not the right circumstances ”.

Gemma reported her experience to the police, but the case was not pursued further.

“In fact, I went to see them when I realized it was rape and because I got pregnant.”

He says that the police spoke to the man, but then they told him that there was insufficient evidence because it was “my word against his, and he denied everything.

Arabella - main character of I May Destroy You

BBC
The topic of stealthing is explored in the BBC One series “I May Destroy You.”

‘We are talking about rape’

A spokeswoman for the Rape Crisis charity says the stealthing it is something that is heard “more and more”.

“It’s always hard to know if it’s because more is happening or because people are more aware of it and willing to bring it up,” says Katie Russell.

He also believes that the term “stealthingIt doesn’t help much.

“It’s a relatively new one, and in a way it’s helpful to have a term so people know what it is, but on the other hand it can be a bit misleading.

“It kind of disinfects and minimizes it, because ultimately what we are talking about is rape.

“We have to be very clear that this is an extraction not consensual of the condom, and it’s not something that’s a little cheeky or naughty to try and get away with; this is something serious that it can have really damaging impacts on the whole life and health of another person“.

No figures are available from Rape Crisis or the police on the number of incidents of stealthing, because they are registered as rape.

A spokesperson for the Council of National Police Chiefs says: “We always encourage people to report it.”

Edem Barbara Ntumy says it happened to her too.

“I was dating someone occasionally and when we were having sex, he took off the condom without my permission. I confronted him about it at the time, but I denied itor and put very aggressiveso I decided to stop talking to him, ”he tells BBC Newsbeat.

“I didn’t report it because I didn’t think it would get the result I wanted.

“He knew very well that rape cases take a long time to be investigated, and all his devices are confiscated and it can take a long time to solve, and it was something he did not want to go through.”

In the last five years, rape cases reported to the police have increasedBut the number of people reaching court has been cut by more than half.

In a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service told Newsbeat: “We are determined to increase the number of rape cases that go to court. Very few victims receive justice and we are working hard to change that. “

Edem now works in sexual health and would like you to had a method of recording incidents that does not involve the criminal justice system.

‘I’ve made peace with it’

“I think it happens a lot and there should be a way for victims to report it, without necessarily going the route of police involvement,” he says.

“I’ve made peace with it, the most worrying thing for me at the time was the risk of contracting a disease, because we weren’t in a fixed relationship.

“It made me angry because if you are having something fortuitous it is very important to respect the limits and be safe, especially if you have sex with several people.”

Kate Parker, a lawyer and director of the School Consent Project, which teaches young people about consent, says that many people are very surprised to learn that the stealthing amounts to a violation of the law.

“It is because, in a case of stealthing, someone has clearly only agreed to have sex with the use of a condom, so if you remove the condom it is not something they have consented to, and that makes it an offense“.

She says it fosters a broader conversation about respecting boundaries and believes that consent should be in the curriculum.

“At the moment, education about sex and relationships is taught in all schools, but consent is an optional module, which means that some schools avoid teaching it all together.

“But it is so fundamental to sex education that, in my opinion, young people are not taught properly without it.

“Stealthing can ruin lives”

picture of condoms and wrappers

Getty Images

For Gemma, the impact on her life it has been devastating and would also like to receive more education on the subject.

I had to move house because being in my apartment reminded me of what happened and I needed therapy to get over it.

“The stealthing it can ruin people’s lives and we must educate people about it. “

Yes te has been affected by any of the problems mentioned in East article, mays visit BBC Action Line for more information.


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