Is "Stealthing" Rape?


Verb; When you’re having sex with a man and he removes the condom without telling you.

Stealthing R29

Legally considered a form of rape or sexual assault in some places. Generally considered a shitty thing to do everywhere else….

A 2018  End Violence Against Women coalition survey found that 21% of Brits (many over 65) think that a man secretly slipping off the condom you insisted he wear to protect you from disease and pregnancy, is not rape.

These numbers matter for a shit load of reasons. Maybe most of all because the members of our community who hold these harmful beliefs are the people sitting on juries hearing rape cases and voting for the lawmakers who determine what is and isn’t a sexual crime. They are voting for DAs  and judges.

If a man is forcing you into sex you don’t want to have, because you flirted with him over dinner, is that rape? In England 33% of men and 21% of women don’t think so.

If you’ve had multiple sexual partners do you think being raped would be less harmful to you physically and mentally than it would be to a woman whose only had only one or two intimate partners? 11% of Brits surveyed think so.

"These figures are alarming because they show that a huge proportion of UK adults, who make up juries in rape trials, are still very unclear about what rape is.”

- Rachel Krys, EVAW co-director

What about when you’ve changed your mind at any point during sex for any reason (pain, fear, disgust, doubt, you need to be somewhere, etc.) and he forces you to continue until he’s “finished”? Have you been raped? A full 42% of people 65 and over (reminder, these are the folks who turn out to vote and show up for jury duty… and look forward to it) don’t think so, nor do 22% of 25-49 yr olds.

Despite the fact that the bulk of reported rapes are a result of violence within a relationship, 35% of Brits over 65 don’t think that forced sex in a marriage or relationship is rape.  The number drops to 16% with respondents aged 16 to 24.


"Confusion and myths about rape are still very common and this could explain why it's hard for juries to make fair decisions if they don't understand or agree with our laws on rape."

- Rachel Krys, EVAW co-director

The Crown Prosecution Service's Violence Against Women And Girls report published this September 2018 noted that the number of defendants actually charged with rape (not the number of accused) fell by 23.1%. Which means cops and prosecution teams are believing women less and less.

When you consider the fact that  false allegations makeup just 0.62% of all rape cases and the current conviction rate is around 36%, it helps you understand why the beliefs/biases of the lawmakers, police, prosecutors, jurors, and judges have very real consequences for very real women.

So I guess, instead of thinking that all of these older people and their “antiquated notions” about what is and isn’t rape are harmless (and just waiting for them to die) we should focus on figuring out how to help the older generation come to see that when a man (stranger, husband, teacher, partner, colleague, etc.) puts his penis, other body parts or object(s) inside a woman’s or man’s mouth, anus, and/or vagina without their continued consent, a rape has occurred.

Any ideas…?

Article by VERVE Founder & CFO (Chief Feminist Operative) Anna Quick-Palmer

More blogs by Anna