Listen to this story being read by Polly Taylor, here.
This post mentions sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.
Two and a half years ago, I was a victim of 'stealthing' by a man I knew and trusted. Honestly, I had a crush on him at the time.
Stealthing is when someone removes a condom during sex without consent. In my opinion, it’s a form of rape.
I asked him to wear a condom, and he agreed, and then he took it off without telling me.
He was a guy I’d been seeing on and off for a little while. It was the kind of relationship that had never evolved into anything firm, instead we’d fallen into an easy in-between status. He was someone I could message at 2am, but not someone I would discuss politics with and vice versa.
It felt fun, sexy and safe. I suppose I saw it as a bit of a summer romance. But I had thought we both cared about each other and then he betrayed my trust in the most painful and callous way.
At the time, I didn’t even really know what 'stealthing' was, I just knew that it felt wrong. I felt violated and small, but it was still hard to pinpoint how wrong.
I live in New South Wales, where the laws were ambiguous around stealthing at the time. It didn’t feel like there was anyone I could turn to or anything concrete that could make me feel protected.
The word stealthing wasn’t even a part of my vocabulary. I had no words to describe what had just happened to me. I just remember feeling so unclean in the aftermath. I just kept showering as if water and soap could wash away an unwanted pregnancy or STI.