Stealthing is sexual assault says AHF

Lots of condoms

STEALTHING– an ugly new sexual trend – is on the rise around the world and causing concern in health and social welfare circles in South Africa. This latest trend involves a participant splitting or removing a condom, just before or during the sexual act, without the knowledge or consent of their partner.

According to Larissa Klazinga from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) regional policy and advocacy manager for Southern Africa the organisation became aware of the dangerous pratice earlier this year.

“While conducting focus groups with young women we learnt that men would grow one fingernail and use it to slit the end of the condom just before penetration, rolling the condom back and tricking them into unprotected sex,” said Klazinga.

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“Stealthing is a form of sexual assault as it is by definition non-consensual. The consequences of stealthing – popularly known in some communities as isikuni, bare-backing or going rogue – are tragic. Besides the obvious risk of pregnancy (sometimes in children as young as 12), unprotected sex includes the risk of transmitting sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, should the deceitful partner be HIV-positive,” she added.

South Africa’s Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act of 2007 lists rape, compelled rape, sexual assault, incest, statutory rape and sexual grooming of children, among others and states that “any person (‘A’) who unlawfully and intentionally commits an act of sexual penetration with a complainant (‘B’) without the consent of B, is guilty of the offence of rape”, clearly making stealthing a crime.

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“It is imperative that if you suspect that you have been the victim of stealthing, to go to your nearest clinic or hospital and request PEP – a 28-day course antiretroviral of medication which can prevent HIV infection – within 72 hours. You can also open a case of sexual assault with the police,” she said.

For more information on AHF you can visit


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