“Stealthing” Bill Shelved ‘till 2018

Thursday, August 31, 2017

(Sacramento) – The bill addressing the ongoing threats of rape culture by adding “stealthing” to California’s Penal Code, AB 1033 (Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens), is being held by the Assemblywoman.  

“At this time, the bill doesn’t have the votes it needs to advance this session but I am committed to the issue and will pursue it next year,” said Garcia, Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. “This will involve ongoing discussions and education with my peers in the legislature and additional work with stakeholders. I, and others, believe stealthing is a violation of informed consent and sex without consent in California is rape.  Some of the amendments I was asked to take are simply inconsistent with my beliefs on this issue.  I don’t want the matter to die a legislative death so I’ve opted to postpone hearings this year to address the concerns raised.

“Stealthing” is the intentional, nonconsensual, removal or tampering with of a condom during sexual intercourse.  The practice of stealthing isn’t new.  Deeply rooted in centuries of rape culture, it is based on dominance and control, particularly of women by men.  Online communities have arisen where it is defended as a male’s “right” to “spread his seed” with coaching and support of how to have nonconsensual sex without a condom. 

Garcia successfully passed AB 701 last year expanding the definition of rape when existing California law allowed Brock Turner to only be sentenced to two months in jail after using a foreign object to rape and assault an unconscious woman at Stanford University.  At the time, California law did not recognize penetration with a foreign object as rape.  Therefore, Turner was only charged with sexual assault sparking international outrage.

Current law now defines rape as penetration, by a body part of a foreign object, without consent.  When a condom is removed without permission during sex, there is no consent and there is penetration.  In addition to the violation of consent, stealthing exposes victims to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.  However, California law now does not acknowledge the act of “stealthing”, necessitating AB 1033 to include its practice as a form of sexual assault in state law. 

“We must end rape culture,” added Garcia.  “This type of assault has happened to me.  I did not consent to being exposed to STD’s or an unwanted pregnancy.  I consented to protected sex.  That was rape.” 

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The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.