Saturday, May 06, 2017

20.6 - Outrage of the Week: "stealthing"

Outrage of the Week: "stealthing"

Now for one of our regular features. This is the Outrage of the Week.

This will be a short one, I expect, because it doesn't require a lot of explanation. But I just find it so grossly offensive, so appallingly amoral - not even immoral but amoral - that I am just floored by it.

There is a new thing - at least it's new to me - called "stealthing" in which, during sex, straight and gay men are removing their condoms without the knowledge or consent of their partners.

According to a study by Alexandra Brodsky published in the most recent issue of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, there is a whole online community of men encouraging one another to carry out what one victim called this "rape-adjacent" act - that is, it's right next to rape - and offering advice and suggestions on how to get away with it. The study quotes comment strings from such sites, which defend stealthing as a male "right," particularly a right of every man to "spread his seed" regardless of the desires of his partner - and regardless of if that partner is female or male.

Which means, if the sex of your partner doesn't matter, "spreading your seed" is clearly not about procreation, but clearly is about the power, the dominance, the control - which if that sounds at all familiar, it should, since that is also what rape is about, with to me the only difference is that stealthing involves dominance by deception and the sense of having humiliated your partner by having gotten away with it, by having successfully tricked them.

In a recent case, Switzerland's high court ruled that stealthing is rape and a man was convicted for it, but in the US stealthing technically is not defined as a form of sexual assault. In her study, Brodsky spent a fair amount of effort trying to define legal terms of how stealthing can be defined as a form of sexual assault - which is understandable as she is writing in a legal journal.

But I'm not a lawyer and I'm not writing in a legal journal so I don't have to get caught up in such technicalities so I have no problem saying of course stealthing is sexual assault. Of course it is sexual violence. Of course it is rape. And of course those who engage in it, particularly those who brag about having gotten away with it, are scumbag low-lifes.

And of course it is an outrage.

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