You can now be sued for stealthing in California. The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom has just signed a law that bans stealthing – the non-consensual removal of condom during sex. This makes California the first state in the United States to prohibit this act.
The bill which was introduced by Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, makes it a civil sexual battery offence for anyone to remove a condom during sex without the verbal consent of their partner.
In a statement, Garcia said, “Sexual assaults, especially those on women of colour, are perpetually swept under the rug. It’s disgusting that there are online communities that defend and encourage stealthing and give advice on how to get away with removing the condom without the consent of their partner.”
A 2017 Yale study found that victims of stealthing described the experience as a “disempowering, demeaning violation of a sexual agreement.”
This new law allows victims of stealthing to sue partners who violate them in this way.
Stealthing wasn’t the only law passed by the California Governor, as a bill totally banning spousal rape was also signed into law. The new law changes the penalty for spousal rape. Both laws seek to provide more rights for victims of sexual misconduct.
Prior to this time, California was one of nine states that differentiated spousal rape from non-spousal rape. Before now, those who raped their spouses were able to receive probation and did not have their names placed in the sex offender registry, even though they had the same maximum penalties as those who raped non-spouses.
Today, with the new law, if a spouse is raped by force, while under the influence or unconscious, or was threatened with retaliation, the perpetrator will not be able to receive probation and they would have their names placed in the sex offender registry.