Stealthing pregnancy: Woman says she gave birth after partner removed condom during sex

It's the latest example of a hidden form of sexual violence

Dave Maclean
Monday 19 June 2017 10:07
What is stealthing?

A woman says she became pregnant after her partner removed the condom during sex without her knowledge – a disturbing practice known as 'stealthing'.

The 31-year-old Australian woman said she got together with her partner in 2000, and they had a child together.

She told that her partner started to pressure her into having sex again, but she insisted on a condom because she didn’t want to get pregnant again.

But just six weeks after the birth of their first child she fell pregnant – as a result of her partner betraying her trust.

When she confronted him "he had a smirk on his face then told me he had taken the condom off halfway through but that I didn't notice so ‘what was the big deal?'"

She said that at the time she knew it was abusive, but there was no name for it.

She ended her relationship and only decided to come forward after the issue of stealthing started to become more widely known as a form of sexual abuse and control.

A study published earlier this year highlighted the once little-discussed form of gender violence.

It found that most men who do it prefer the feel of sex without a condom, but for others it’s a way to exert power over their partners.

Apart from unwanted pregnancies and STIs, "survivors experienced nonconsensual condom removal as a clear violation of their bodily autonomy and the trust they had mistakenly placed in their sexual partner," study author Alexandra Brodsky, a legal fellow at the National Women's Law Center, wrote.

She explored the web's dark underbelly, and found communities of men who discuss how to get away with stealthing by swapping tips and techniques.

Getting the practice to be treated with an appropriate level of seriousness is a challenge, and when a Swiss man was convicted of rape for stealthing in a landmark case earlier this year it was a seen as a breakthrough.

But since then his rape conviction has been reduced to one of defilement. The UK has signed the Istanbul Convention, which aims to prevent violence against women - including all non-consensual acts of a sexual nature. Earlier this year, Parliament passed a bill requiring the UK to ratify the convention. It is believed stealthing would fall under that.

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