Anger, hurt, betrayal … Stealthing victims speak out
Althea Francis* has been stealthed. At 31 years old, she recounted the experience that could have ruined her dreams of getting a college education.
Stealthing is the practice of a man removing or damaging the condom during sexual intercourse without the other person’s consent.
At 19, Francis said she was dating a guy who was 25 and already a father. She made it clear that she wasn’t ready for a child.
“One day we were having sex, and he was going very hard, so I pulled away. I think it was at this time that he took off the condom because the room was dark. We started having sex again, and I didn’t know until he ejaculated on my stomach. I started to ask questions because I couldn’t find the condom. I said, ‘Why it look like you take it off so’, and that was when he admitted that he had,” Francis shared with The Sunday Gleaner.
“I didn’t have the experience, and even now, I still don’t think a woman with experience would be like, ‘Oh, down there feel like a rubber is on or a rubber is off’.”
They argued about it, and later, she told her mother, who took her to a doctor. She said, luckily, there were no repercussions.
However, Stacy Nelson* was not as lucky, as she ended up with a child she was not ready for.
“I don’t know if he tampered with the condom or removed it. We had a conversation after I found out I was pregnant, and he, basically, admitted that me getting pregnant was very deliberate on his part,” Nelson stated.
She was furious as she was working almost 12 hours a day and had no idea how she was going to cope with the addition of a child. She immediately asked him to leave her house.
“I’m 38 this year, and my son is three years old now. I’m no longer angry, but I was upset for a long time. I was not ready for a child, but by the time all of that came out, I had made peace. Even though I was upset, I never ever thought that my child was a mistake,” said Nelson.
She continued, “He’s not in the child’s life because of his choice, not mine. He never wanted a child. He just wanted me to stay with him, and the way he thought he could do this was by getting me pregnant so he would be attached to me forever.”
… Men are victims, too
None of the men who The Sunday Gleaner spoke with admitted that they had removed a condom without consent, but they knew colleagues who had done so.
The men, however, complained that some women, in a bid to get them to continue the relationship, would damage condoms in order to become pregnant.
Delroy Richards* said that at age 22, his girlfriend of two years was always talking about having children, but he wasn’t interested because he had a child with another woman.
While having intercourse one day, he found her actions suspicious. She was the one who had bought the condom. She also took a while in the bathroom and insisted she put it on before intercourse.
“Instantly, me feel the difference. As it go in, is like my penis went straight through the condom, so you start feel skin to skin,” Richards shared.
“Me say, ‘How this feel so?’ She say, ‘No bother with that. Just continue, man. Everything good’. Me say, ‘No, man, something wrong’. She say, ‘Look how long me and you a have sex and you want cuss bout this’. When me pull it out and look, the condom burst.”
She got upset because he accused her of tampering with the condom, which she repeatedly denied, but it caused the relationship to fall apart because he no longer trusted her.
“I’m 35 now, and even now once me a have sex with a woman and the condom burst, I can tell because you feel a pop,” said Richards.
“If you are not aware as a man, trust me, you get trap easily. Them woman yah trap you in a second, especially if them see say you have potential and you a do good things in you life. Them willing fi do anything fi trap you. She feel as if the pickney could a keep me, but that can’t keep anybody.”
… Knowingly removing a condom is underhanded and dishonest
A representative from the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) says there are numerous reasons why men would consider practicing stealthing.
“It is said that the man gets a better erection without the condom and the sex is sweeter, so they might start out with a condom on, and at some point, they take it off because they feel like they would get more enjoyment. Another reason is that a man feels he would ejaculate quicker with a condom off,” he noted.
“Generally, prevention messages are around. Practice safe sex, which includes wearing a condom, getting tested, knowing your status. If it is that someone is taking off the condom during sex, especially when you don’t know each other’s HIV status, that is risky. Knowingly removing a condom is underhanded and dishonest.”
[*Names changed to protect identity.]