Judges in Dordrecht will on Tuesday hear a case against two men charged with rape, because they removed condoms during sex, according to Dutch media reports.
It is the first time in the Netherlands that men have been charged with rape when the sex was consensual, but the lack of protection was not, according to court officials. The two men, aged 26 and 28, are being tried in separate cases, and both should serve jail terms of one year, the public prosecution office said.
Known as stealthing in English, the practice is not named in Dutch law. Lawyer Mirjam Levy, who is representing one of the two men, told news agency ANP that there can be no question of coercion if both parties have consented to sex. ‘If you discover later that the conditions have not been met, that does not mean coercion was involved,’ she said.
One earlier victim, who founded the website Stealthing.nl and tried unsuccessfully to take legal action against her abuser several years ago, told RTL she had made it clear that they would only have sex with a condom.
‘If my bed partner had asked if it was possible without a condom I would have said no,’ she said. ‘And it would have been coercion if he had carried on.’
‘Sex without a condom and without informing your partner can be a form of sexual violence,’ he said. ‘The sex has been made possible by abusing the situation and a creative judge could consider that rape.’
Stealthing is considered rape under British law, and there are laws against it in several other places, including parts of Australia and in California.