California assemblywoman Cristina Garcia introduced a bill yesterday that will include "stealthing" (the act of removing a condom without consent mid-sex) in the state's definition of rape.
The act of stealthing has recently garnered a lot of media attention and subsequent legal action, after a paper by Alexandra Brodsky was published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. In the paper, Brodsky interviewed victims of the disgusting act and concluded “'stealthing' doesn't just 'feel violent' — it is.”
With that, she urged U.S. officials to take the legal measures necessary to protect victims of stealthing.
The state of Wisconsin was the first to answer her call to action with a proposed a bill that marked stealthing as an act of sexual assault in the eyes of the law. Now, California is not only following suit, but Garcia is taking things one step further by proposing that we include the act in the definition of rape.
At the Planned Parenthood Day of Action Rally in Sacramento — where the bill was proposed — Garcia (who also chairs the Legislative Women's Caucus) made her stance on stealthing abundantly clear.
“Stealthing is rape,” she said. “Penetration without consent is rape.”
Right now, the state of California defines rape as "penetration, by a body part of a foreign object, without consent." And Garcia makes the valid argument that stealthing should fall under this umbrella because penetration happens without consent during stealthing.
In addition to that, stealthing victims are exposed to all sorts of sexually transmitted diseases, not to mention the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy.
That all being said, there is nothing written in California law that specifically defines the act of stealthing as "rape." So with her proposed bill, AB 1033, Garcia hopes to change that.
Garcia also makes it clear that, beyond being a criminal justice issue, stealthing is also a feminist issue.
“Stealthing is another sign that some men think they can still own our bodies,” she explained. “I hope all the men out there blogging are paying attention because in California we're going to lead the nation in ending the 'trend' now.”
Here's to hoping AB 1033 is passed, and we can see some real change being made in our justice system.
Citations: 'Stealthing' Could Be Considered Sexual Assault Under This State's Proposed Law (Elite Daily), Getty Images Guys Might Be 'Stealthing' You And You May Not Realize It's Actually Sexual Assault (Elite Daily), 'Rape-Adjacent': Imagining Legal Responses to Nonconsensual Condom Removal (Columbia Journal of Gender and Law)