California has made it illegal to remove a condom during sex without verbal consent, a practice popularly known as “stealthing.”
Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Thursday that classifies the removal of a condom without consent as “sexual battery.”
“By passing this bill, we are underlining the importance of consent,” the governor’s office said in a tweet.
Cristina Garcia, a member of the California assembly who introduced the bill, said it ensures that “stealthing isn’t only immoral but illegal.”
The California law is the first in the country to specifically ban “stealthing,” which can expose a partner to unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
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Under the bill, a person commits sexual battery who “causes contact between a sexual organ, from which a condom has been removed, and the intimate part of another who did not verbally consent to the condom being removed.”
An offender is liable for punitive damages that would be awarded by a court.
The practice of “stealthing” attracted attention in the United States after a paper was published by a doctoral student, Alexandra Brodsky, in 2017 in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.
Brodsky’s paper noted that there were online forums that provided information on how to successfully commit “stealthing,” some of which were subsequently shut down.
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