California Bans Secret Condom Removal During Sex And Enhances Punishment For Spousal Rape

Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia introduced two bills on "stealthing," the intentional removal of condoms during sex without the other person's consent, and spousal rape after working on laws for years.

On October 7, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, signed laws to provide more rights for victims of sexual assaults.

California is the first state in America to prohibit stealthing. The law, AB 453, makes the removal of condoms during sex without verbal consent from the other party a civil sexual battery offense.

Garcia has been advocating for this law since 2017. Now that it is signed, any victim of stealthing can sue the offender for damages and relief.

As shown by a 2017 Yale study, both men and women have been victims of stealthing. Many of them view what happened to them as a "disempowering, demeaning violation of a sexual agreement."

Also, they have to deal with the fear of getting sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancy. They also view it as a "clear violation of their bodily autonomy and the trust they had mistakenly placed in their sexual partner."

In a press release statement, Garcia said:

"Sexual assaults, especially those on women of color, are perpetually swept under the rug... It's disgusting that there are online communities that defend and encourage stealthing and give advice on how to get away with removing the condom without the consent of their partner."

The new law clearly states that a person has committed sexual battery if they "cause 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." It also included someone who "causes contact between an intimate part of the person and a sexual organ of another from which the person removed a condom without verbal consent."

Spousal Rape

The issue of spousal rape was also addressed. Garcia said in a statement:

"Rape is rape. And a marriage license is not an excuse for committing one of society's most violent and sadistic crimes."

Although it is illegal in every state, California is one of the nine states that set it apart from non-spousal rape. The second law, AB 1171, eliminated that existing law.

The previous bill defined rape as an "act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator under certain circumstances." The 'certain circumstances included the inability to give legal consent because of an inability or disorder on the victim's part or a situation where the perpetrator fraudulently presents the case to get their way.

The previous law did not include spousal rape, but this new law does. It gives rape a much broader definition. Only in cases where the other spouse has a mental disorder or physical or developmental disability does the new law not apply.

In the press release, the governor released his office pointed out that there have been more cases of intimate partner violence even though very little come to the fore.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, marital rape is underreported though 10-14% of women are raped at some point in their marriages. Not until 1976 did a state legally recognize spousal rape.

"AB 1171 will mandate adherence to a law that will protect vulnerable spouses in a union."

The new law sets the same maximum penalties for perpetrators of spousal rape as it has for those who rape non-spouses, with a little tweak. Spouse rapists can receive probation and will not be placed on the sex offender registry.

According to San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, the new bill will ensure that the law "protect all victims of sexual abuse and that rape committed against a spouse is treated just as seriously under the law as rape against any other victim and survivor."