Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

It also has serious physical and mental health consequences, including STDs, unwanted pregnancies and post-traumatic stress.

Practice is also all too common, a study from Monash University and the Melbourne Sexual Health Center in 2018 examined 2,000 people and found out every third woman – and almost every fifth man who has sex with men – had experienced stealing.

A 2019 U.S. study of 626 men between the ages of 21 and 30 found that 10 percent without condensation had removed a condom, and of those who admitted the offense, they had done so on average three to four times in their lives.

“It is a massive problem, and it is a much bigger problem than we realize. We who work on the front lines and support people who are directly affected by sexual abuse know that it is something that has actually gotten worse over time, says Australia’s Rape and Domestic Violence CEO Hayley Foster to SBS News.

“It’s something that has not really been talked about, and I think part of it is because the law has not been explicit about it.”

The law is now explicit in the nation’s capital after the ACT passed laws that explicitly identified ‘stealing’ as a criminal act. Similar laws were passed in California on Friday, making it the first U.S. jurisdiction to do so.

The ACT Act defines theft as a situation “where consent is given on the basis that a condom is used during intercourse and the alleged perpetrator either removes the condom or does not put on a condom at all and deliberately does not inform the other person”.

Across Tasman, in New Zealand, there is a legal precedent that clarifies that stealing is sexual assault, following a verdict earlier this year.

In April, a man in Wellington was found guilty of rape and sentenced to more than three years in prison after removing a condom twice during intercourse. The judge found the assault seriously endangered the woman’s health and caused severe mental stress.

Britain, Switzerland, Canada and Germany have seen successful convictions for stealing.

A legal gray area

There is a legal argument that stealing is already illegal throughout Australia as it is done without consent. A partner may have given consent to sex provided the use of a condom, so removal of this without their knowledge or permission violates this consent.

This has not yet been tested in an Australian court and academics are not positive that it will hold.

“There is no clear answer to that. The best answer is that it might, ”said Dr. Brianna Chesser to SBS News.

Dr Brianna Chesser is a criminologist at RMIT University, a criminal lawyer and clinical psychologist.

Source: Brianna Chesser / delivered


That is why she calls for clearer laws to be introduced across the country.

“An explicit addition to the law would help prosecutors be fully aware of the legal status of stealing,” the criminologist said.

Colleague Dr Rachael Burgin, a senior lecturer in law at Swinburne University, has also called for the ACT’s explicit laws to be repeated.

“What we have seen is some disagreement as to whether it is already covered by law … it is much debated. ACT has been able to move beyond that argument and make sure that it is. “she said.

Clear laws make education straightforward, proponents say

Women’s rights activists argue that clear laws will give those who have experienced theft the opportunity to come forward, and it may also help educate the wider community.

“If this provision is included in the law, explicitly refers to the removal or misrepresentation of condom use, it will increase reporting because people can identify that they have been harmed; and they can identify that there is legal recognition of that damage, ”said Dr. Burgin.

Dr Rachael Burgin is the Executive Director of Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy (RASARA).


“It will make people who have experience of stealing aware that it is a criminal act and thus increase the likelihood that they will report.”

The ultimate goal is to completely prevent it, and rape and domestic violence Australia’s Hayley Foster said clear and consistent laws across Australia will help educate the public on what is acceptable and what is not.

“If we do not have strong laws that are completely clear, then it is really difficult to make the public education necessary to change behavior and start preventing it,” Foster said.

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“Because it is [currently] not clearly articulated, it makes it quite gray, and many people in society do not understand it [stealthing] is sexual assault. ”

“The law is really important for setting norms and expectations, and from there we can make a really important education.”

There is currently a case of alleged theft in the courts of Victoria. The case is adjourned until next year due to COVID-19.

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