Stealthing is a serious form of sexual violence which can leave an enormous lasting impact on individuals who have experienced it. However, the law on stealthing is ambiguous - the police don’t even track for cases of stealthing or non-consensual condom removal (NCCR). It is currently not illegal in Scotland, and no one has ever been prosecuted for it. Without specific legislation, victim-survivors are left in a legal grey area and are often left to cope without adequate emotional support. In fact, many victim-survivors are not even aware that what they experience is all too common and is a form of sexual assault.
Make Stealthing Illegal
stealthing noun /stelθiŋ/
the non-consensual removal or tampering of a barrier method of contraception before or during a sexual encounter
To understand the prevalence and awareness of stealthing within Scotland we conducted a public survey. From this we found that only 69% (152) of respondents were aware of what stealthing entailed before completing the survey. Concerningly, we also found that out of the 219 respondents who completed the survey, 34 had experienced stealthing and another 69 said they knew of someone who had been stealthed.
The Scottish Government feels the legal provisions it has in place for prosecuting and educating about stealthing are sufficient. We fundamentally disagree: CERT argues that stealthing must be explicitly criminalised so as to provide for victim-survivors. A specific law would remove all legal ambiguity and provide a way for those who experience stealthing to seek justice. Our demands are echoed by our findings:
93% of survey respondents believed stealthing should be against the law.
“I think myself and everyone I know has felt disgusting and violated after it. You feel totally uncomfortable in your own body, knowing that you didn’t consent to this. It’s a horrible experience and it is so normalised.”
CERT is also launching a petition. With enough signatures, we can show the Scottish government the prevalence of this issue and the injustices it permits. By petitioning for a change in law, all legal ambiguity would be removed, Through working with our communities, we will raise awareness and build a collective, inclusive approach to tackle this form of sexual violence.
You can find the petition linked below.
This starts with an awareness campaign. Educating the public about stealthing and raising awareness will change attitudes and reduce the prevalence of stealthing, whilst also making it easier for those who are stealthed to report these offences to the police.
Make stealthing illegal.
Challenge legal ambiguity.
We implore anyone and everyone to share our campaign and sign our petition so we can educate against and end stealthing, and ultimately one more barrier between us and a world where sexual violence of all kinds is prevented.
All artwork was contributed to CERT Scotland by artists Katy Tulloch and Sophie Pywell.