Two years ago, a 19-year-old Florida teen posted a call for advice in the subreddit askgaybros. In the post, he said he met a guy on Grindr and went back to his place to hook up. When the guy asked to have sex without a condom, the teenager explicitly said no. But during the encounter, he discovered his partner had removed the condom. Panicking and unsure of what to do, the poster said he endured the experience, "already fucking crying in my head."
It was only his sixth sexual encounter, he wrote, and he felt "ruined."
The reddit post sheds light on a common, although rarely discussed, form of gender-based violence: the practice of a man removing a condom during sex without his partner's knowledge or consent. A new study published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law last week goes more in-depth on this phenomenon, also known as "stealthing."
Alexandra Brodsky, a legal fellow at the National Women's Law Center and author of the study, spoke with a number of people, mostly women, who have experienced nonconsensual condom removal. While every survivor's experience is different, Brodsky pointed to two common themes that appeared in her conversations: "The first is that, unsurprisingly, survivors fear unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections," she writes. "The second is that, apart from these specific outcomes, survivors experienced nonconsensual condom removal as a clear violation of their bodily autonomy and the trust they had mistakenly placed in their sexual partner."
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