Explaining 'stealthing' and the conversation about rape that we need to have

Shawna Marks


This paper discusses the issue of “stealthing,” a term for non-consensual condom removal during sexual intercourse, in the context of a broader rape culture that is dismissive of sexual crimes, and particularly those that fall in so-called “grey areas” of the law. Stealthing is technically considered rape according to Australian legal experts (Wright in Hack 2017) but is difficult to prosecute as such due to the pervasiveness of socially constructed ideas about rape. I argue that stealthing has escaped discussion for so long because low rape convictions and misleading media narratives contribute to a lack of understanding about what constitutes rape, who perpetrates it, and who it affects. This paper focuses on an experience of stealthing, described to me by an interview participant who was involved in my PhD research about the sexual culture of amateur and semi-professional Australian Rules football, as part of my work looking into the experiences of women who have had sex with footballers. In this paper, I tell her story and connect it to a broader conversation about stealthing, sporting culture, and rape culture that we need to have.


Stealthing; Rape; Australian Rules Football; Sexual Culture; Violence

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