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Does “stealthing” fall within the definition of rape or sexual assault in Georgia?

An emerging trend in dating culture is not only raising alarm from a health and safety perspective, but also from a legal perspective. The practice involves a man secretly removing his condom in the middle of the sex act. The practice is known as “stealthing,” and it is even promoted in some circles. Specifically, the trend raises questions about the proper definition of sexual assault.

Does the practice of “stealthing” fall within the definition of rape or sexual assault in Georgia? First of all, rape and sexual are distinct under Georgia law. Rape involves carnal knowledge of a female forcible against her will, or of a female who is less than ten years old. Statutory rape involves sexual intercourse with an individual who is not a spouse and who is under the age of 16.

Rape has a narrower definition under the law than does sexual battery. Different states define it in different ways, but sexual battery in Georgia refers to intentional physical contact with the intimate body parts of another person without that person’s consent. Sexual battery is aggravated when an object other than the sexual organ is used to penetrate the sexual organ or anus of another person, without that person’s consent.

“Stealthing” could occur in the context of rape, but the real question with the practice seems to be whether consensual sex between partners can be charged as sexual battery if the male removes the condom without the knowledge of the other partner. In our next post, we’ll say more about this issue, and the importance of working with an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend against unjust charges of rape and sexual battery.

Source: Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, Georgia Sexual Assault Statutes 2015.

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