The Author of the ‘Stealthing’ Study on Changing How We Talk About Rape

Alexandra Brodsky, author of the study that looked into the trend of nonconsensual condom removal during sex, talks to Broadly about her research's impact.

Interview (NATIONAL)

Linda Yang
December 10, 2017

Tags: Sexual Assault

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)


In my article, I suggest a civil remedy rather than a criminal remedy — basically, a law under which survivors can sue their assailants directly for money damages rather than hoping a prosecutor takes the case. To be honest, I just have very little faith in the criminal legal system. Not all survivors want criminal consequences for their assailants. But even when they do, so many prosecutors decline to bring charges for sexual violence generally because of rape myths like the idea that people can’t be assaulted by their romantic partners, or that people who consent to some sexual activity automatically consent to all sexual contact. And those rape myths are particularly likely to be in play in cases of non consensual condom removal given that the violence definitionally occurs in the context of consensual sex.

 I want survivors to have control over their cases, and I think civil law provides that opportunity. Of course, that means we have to make sure they have access to legal services. Not to get too into the weeds, but a successful civil remedy must include a provision for attorneys’ fees, which basically means the lawyer can get paid by the court if the survivor wins. That makes it easier for low-income victims to find representation.