A Dutch court has convicted a man for removing his condom during sex without his partner’s consent, marking a landmark change in how the act of “stealthing” is dealt with.
“By his actions, the suspect forced the victim to undergo unprotected sex with him,” the court said. “In doing so, he restricted her personal liberty and abused the trust she placed in him.”
AFP reported that the 28-year-old unidentified man sent SMS to the victim after they had sex, insisting she would “be fine” after learning about the act.
“Stealthing” has become a major issue for the courts because of how they deal with cases that can expose a sexual partner to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
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A Dutch court in the district of Dordrecht acquitted the man of rape after the court ruled that the sex was consensual.
The judge found an appropriate “agreement between the suspect and the complainant regarding sexual penetration.”
The court in Rotterdam sentenced the Syrian-born suspect to a three-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 1,000 euros ($1,073) for the damage.
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The case marks the first conviction for this type of offense in the Netherlands. In another case involving a 26-year-old suspect, the defendant was acquitted after the court ruled it could not determine whether the man intended his partner to have unprotected sex.
Mirjam Levy, a lawyer representing one of the suspects, said, “As soon as there is sex, and it is not against someone else’s will, then there is no coercion.” “If one finds later that conditions have not been met, it does not mean that there is coercion.”
According to the NL Times, instances of “stealthing” have increased in recent years, leading to a Dutch website, Stealthing.
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The website operator told the Times that “people have already been convicted of rape by stealing,” but the Netherlands was less familiar with the act.
Tracking down such cases can prove difficult as authorities usually classify them under rape charges.
In the US, California banned “stealthing”, which requires verbal consent before a condom can be removed. But the state has yet to update its criminal code, instead relying on a civil code change so that victims can sue the offender for damages.
Massachusetts State Sen. Diana DiJoglio supported a bill in her state in 2021 to ban the act, telling The Boston Globe that it is “an important issue that needs to be addressed by our legislators so that we can protect survivors.” stand with.”
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In a 2018 case in Germany, a police officer was convicted of sexual assault and received an eight-month suspended sentence for “stealthing” and ordered to pay 3,100 euros ($3,329) in damages.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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