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Emerging trend stretches limits of state sexual assault laws

Sexual assault, as readers are aware, can take various forms and can follow certain trends depending on the state of popular culture. One emerging trend that has been gaining increasing attention in certain circles is the practice of “stealthing.”

For those unfamiliar, the term refers to the practice of removing a condom in the middle of a sex act without the other partner’s consent. The practice is not limited to heterosexual men, and is promoted by some as a man’s right. On the other hand, stealthing could also be looked at as just the newest trend in sexual assault. 

In Florida, sexual battery is the general term referring to offenses nonconsensual sexual acts with another. Consent refers to intelligent, knowing and voluntary agreement to the act, and excludes coercive submission. Part of the conceptual problem with stealthing is that the sexual act may be consensual, but there is a specific aspect of the act that is nonconsensual.

Unfortunately, the law as it exists in many states does not provide adequate distinctions to include within the definition of rape, sexual assault or sexual battery the removal of a condom during an otherwise consensual sex act. Because of this, some are calling for revision of the law to allow for the prosecution of those who engage in the practice of stealthing.

It remains to be seen whether lawmakers will take action to address the emerging trend of stealthing, or whether the courts will widen the existing legal definitions to include the practice. Those who have been accused of any sexual offense, of course, should always work with an experienced attorney to build the strongest possible defense case to protect their rights.

Source: New York Post, “‘Stealthing’ is the newest dangerous sex trend,” Lauren Tousignant, April 24, 2017. 

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