In the last few years, more and more people have been talking about the repulsive practice of "stealthing"—or removing a condom during penetrative sex without the knowledge or consent of the other person. And in a win for people in Singapore, as part of the Criminal Law Reform Bill that was given its first reading on Monday, the government is set to criminalize this practice.
In a press release, the Ministry of Law and Home Affairs, announced:
… the Bill introduces a new offense criminalizing the procurement of sexual activity where consent is obtained by deception or false representation regarding (a) the use or manner of use of a sexually protective device, or (b) whether one is suffering from a sexually transmitted disease. In such cases, while consent is not legally negated (as the deception does not relate to the nature of the act, the purpose of the act, or the identity of the person doing the act), the consent obtained is compromised, and there is risk of physical harm to the victim.
The second reading of the bill is set for this coming May, and when it becomes law, Singapore will be the first country in Asia where the act of stealthing is against the law.
Stealthing is common enough that you can find stories of its victims in any online community and on the reverse, there have been blatant guidelines written by men to encourage one another to adopt this practice. Some people are calling stealthing "a new form of rape" or "rape-adjacent," but whatever we call it, the point is that the practice violates a person's boundaries and in a 2017 study published on Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, it leaves a person with fear of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
In this 2017 piece published in Her World magazine, a Singaporean woman describes her frustration after realizing a sexual partner had ejaculated inside of her without her knowledge: “For the next week or so, I couldn’t eat, sleep or work. Not only was I worried that I’d caught some horrible disease, I was also scared that I had fallen pregnant. A million questions ran through my mind like, how would I take care of a baby as a single parent? I was also angry with myself for not noticing when he removed the condom. I felt violated and demeaned.”
Singapore's decision to review its Penal Code concerning sexual crimes comes after a landmark case in 2017 where a man in Switzerland was sentenced to 12 months in prison for removing his condom during sex with a woman he met on Tinder.