The Supreme Court of Canada ruled 5-4 on Friday that stealthing could lead to a sexual assault conviction.
Stealthing is defined as non-consensual condom removal, it occurs when you only agreed to have condom-protected sex but then your sex partner proceeded to remove the condom he had promised to wear so he could cum inside you without your knowledge and consent.
According to CBC, the decision could “set important legal precedent on consent and sexual assault.”
“Sex with and without a condom are fundamentally and qualitatively distinct forms of physical touching,” Justice Sheilah Martin wrote in the majority decision.
“A complainant who consents to sex on the condition that their partner wear a condom does not consent to sex without a condom.” She added, “There is no agreement to the physical act of intercourse without a condom.” Read the ruling in full here.
In Canada, “sexual assault requires proof of a lack of consent to a particular sexual activity,” Reuters reports.
Meanwhile, Isabel Grant, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law, expressed in an interview with CBC that she “hopes the reasoning behind the court’s decision will be heard beyond the legal community.” Grant said, “I hope that that message plays an educative role for people trying to understand what is consensual and what is non-consensual.”
Stealthing is not just about a breach of trust. It is a dangerous act that could put your health at risk with diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). And in the case of women: unwanted pregnancies.
Around the world, only Australian Capital Territory and California have criminalized stealthing so far. Though currently, there are a handful of countries where people are convicted for stealthing in spite of the lack of specific laws on said practice namely the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Germany.
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