California is About to Become the First State to Make ‘stealthing,’ or Removing Condoms, Illegal
California lawmakers are moved to make the state the first to make “stealing,” or removing a condom during intercourse without consent, illegal.
On Tuesday, lawmakers submitted Gov. Gavin Newsom a bill that included the act in the state’s civil definition of sexual battery. It makes it illegal to remove the condom without verbal permission. However, the criminal code remains unchanged. Instead, the civil code would be amended to allow a victim to sue the perpetrator for damages, including punitive damages.
Since 2017, when Yale University researchers found that theft against both women and gay men was on the rise, Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has been campaigning for the measure. Her first bill aimed to criminalize it.
Even if the behavior isn’t officially included in the penal code, legislative experts stated at the time that it may be regarded as a misdemeanor sexual battery. However, according to the experts, it is rarely prosecuted, owing to the difficulty in showing that a culprit acted willfully rather than accidentally.
Garcia’s bill, according to analysts this year, would eliminate any ambiguity in civil law. According to Garcia, the act can inflict victims long-term bodily and emotional harm. Similar bills have been filed in New York and Wisconsin, but Garcia claims California will be the first to make it illegal. Her measure was passed this year in California with no opposition.
The Erotic Service Providers Legal Educational Research Project has endorsed her bill, stating that it might empower sex workers to sue clients who remove condoms during otherwise consensual sex.
The state Senate also voted Tuesday to classify rape of a spouse the same as the rape of a non-spouse. If the victim is married to the perpetrator, the bill eliminates an exemption to the rape legislation.
California is one of 11 states that separate spousal rape from other types of sexual assault. The divide, according to advocates of the bill, dates back to a time when women were supposed to obey their husbands.
Those convicted of spousal rape may now be eligible for probation rather than prison or imprisonment, however, the maximum punishments remain the same. Only if the crime entailed the use of force or violence and the spouse was sentenced to state prison must those convicted of spousal rape register as sex offenders.
The law was passed with a vote of 36-0. Before lawmakers adjourn for the year on Friday, it goes to the Assembly for a final vote