The Ultimate Betrayal: Stealthing

In the past, Zamo hasn’t always made the best choices…

Yet, in episode 7, I really appreciated how she handled her “stealthing” situation. Finding out that the guy she had slept with secretly removed his condom while they were having sex was definitely a lot to deal with, but she took control of the situation and spoke to a medical professional as soon as she could, opting for a more permanent form of birth control. Yes Zamo!

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Yet, this kind of thing doesn’t only happen in the world of MTV Shuga…

Setting the Scene

Let’s imagine for a moment that you are a girl in her twenties, navigating your way through life. You have a pretty good head on your shoulders and do your best to make responsible decisions about who you spend time with, what you get up to and where you hang out.

You are sexually active, but you have made sure to be extremely careful, and to stay protected with every encounter you make, because you know the sorts of consequences you would have to face if you slipped up. You have life goals that you want to achieve and are committed to doing your best to live life to the fullest. From the outside looking in, you seem to have things all worked out for a twenty something year old.

Until you find yourself dealing with an unplanned pregnancy or an STD…

You wonder how it happened and what exactly went wrong. You’ve been careful. You’ve been covering all your bases but you don’t understand. It just doesn’t make sense!

You speak to your sexual partner, and after a little bit of a back and forth he finally confesses to taking off his condom every once in a while because, in his words, “Baby, you just feel so good without a condom, I just had to get a taste! Plus, I trust you, and I didn’t think it was that big of a deal”.

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You’re shocked, distraught and convinced this might be the end of the world. You’ve worked so hard to be responsible with your choices and in that very moment, you could strangle your partner (or now ex depending on how you navigate his betrayal of trust).

How did you end up with such a guy anyway? In this situation, it wasn’t your fault because you made sure to set out the rules and boundaries. You were very clear that you had to use protection, but he went ahead to compromise your relationship & health and go against your wishes.

The Real World

‘Stealthing’ is a disturbing trend that is growing in popularity around the world. This act of secretly and intentionally removing a condom during sex is being considered a form of sexual violence, with some countries even treating it as they would rape.

Conversations around “stealthing” have been happening with people taking more time to investigate its implications and just how harmful it is. It has even been classified as a form of violence, rooted in a lack of respect and with time, by the looks of things, it may be declared a criminal act.

Earlier this year, a French man was convicted of rape in Switzerland after removing a condom during sex without telling his partner. In 2014, a man who poked holes in his condom was convicted of sexual assault by the Supreme Court of Canada. Whilst these events show that people are beginning to take the issue of ‘stealthing’ more seriously, this act still remains a grey area legally in many countries.

Aside from the obvious legal implications, it all comes down to consent, and the blatant violation of victims’ trust. This can lead to emotional and psychological trauma, as well as unwanted pregnancies and disease.

What Now?

Now the laws may not be in place to tackle ‘stealthing’, but we as a society can establish that this is an unacceptable violation of someone’s personal freedom over their bodies. I would say in the meantime, folks, don’t even think about doing it. It’s wrong, deceitful and dangerous.

The more we have open conversations about this topic, the more we can help people understand the issues surrounding ‘stealthing’.

Although the law is unclear when it comes to this, there is still help out there if you need it. You should not have to suffer in silence. If you don’t feel comfortable enough speaking to friends or family, then the ‘Stop Gender Violence’ helpline are a good resource for young people, who can provide you with advice and support.

Stealthing is WRONG! It’s a simple as that fam.

If you would like to know more about the issue of ‘stealthing’, then check out MTV Shuga’s dedicated knowledge page which covers all of the issues covered in the TV show.