Debate has sparked as to whether a sex act known as "stealthing" should be considered a criminal act.
"Stealthing" takes place when a condom is secretly removed during the middle of intercourse without consent. The practice can lead to increased health risks or unwanted pregnancy and also feelings of violation, according to a study published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law by Alexandra Brodsky.
Brodsky is pushing for new laws to treat "stealthing" as a form of sexual assault.
"Situating nonconsensual condom removal within the broad category of gender violence reveals that the practice is an ethical wrong with practical, psychic, and politically salient repercussions for its victims," she wrote in the paper.
Brodsky is a fellow at the National Women's Law Center but told the Huffington Post she wrote the study outside of her work for the organization.
"While overlooked by the law, nonconsensual condom removal is a harmful and often gender-motivated form of sexual violence. Remedy may be found under current law, but a new cause of action may promote the possibility of plaintiffs’ success while reducing negative unintended effects. At its best, such a law would clearly respond to and affirm the harm victims report by making clear that “stealthing” doesn’t just “feel violent”—it is," the study concludes.
The paper was published a few months after a Swiss court in January convicted a man of rape after he removed his condom without telling his partner, according to The Guardian.
But existing laws in the United States do not protect people from "stealthing," Brodsky wrote.
"The law could give voice to survivors where, to date, it has failed them," she wrote in the study.