Sunday 26 June 2022

17 Years In Prison For Removing or Breaking A Condom Without Consent

Legislative bill presented by legislator Paola Vega seeks to define 'Rape-Adjacent' in the criminal code, meanwhile, specialists in criminal law consider the proposal "absurd and disproportionate" to "the need to fill an important legal vacuum"

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Removing the condom or deliberately breaking it in the middle of a sexual act without the partner’s consent could land you up to 17 years in prison if a legislative bill presented on Monday (July 15) by the pro-government legislator Paola Vega prospers.

According to the legislator, her proposal aims to add another article to Costa Rica’s Criminall Code (Código Penal) to regulate a new form of sexual violence that, according to her, is not typified.

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“This practice is more common than you think, either you have been a victim or you have close friends who have been through this.

“We are proposing adding ‘Rape-Adjacent’ (violación adyacente), as it is called. I would not be equating it with an ordinary rape, a lower rank (in law) is created, and a person who removes the condom or damages it on purpose would be imposed a prison sentence,” the legislator explained.

This eventual crime, explained Vega, would be “a grave violation” if the act results in a sexually transmitted infection or a pregnancy.

Vega was asked, how can it be proven that an intentional act was taken to remove the condom or break it if the act occurred during a sexual act that began with mutual consent.

“On this subject, there is a lot of taboo. The judiciary must have the tools to verify those cases. Here a tool is given to the operator (judge) so that he/she knows how to proceed if he/she receives complaints of this type,” explained the legislator.

The penalties proposed in the bill range from 9 to 17 years in prison.

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According to the proposal, imprisonment from 9 to 15 years would be imposed to who withdraws or damages the condom, or another prophylactic method, without the express consent of all the parties involved in the act of carnal access by oral, anal or vagina.

Two years would be added (up to 17 years) if that action results in a pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection.

The bill, to which the file number 21,513, has not yet been assigned to any legislative commission for analysis and discussion.

Vega also recently presented another controversial bill related to the right to a dignified death of the terminally ill.

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Reaction to the proposal is divided. Experts in criminal law consider the proposal “absurd and disproportionate” to “the need to fill an important legal vacuum”.

In an article in Volume 32, Number 2 (2017) issue of the Columbia University School of Law, Alexandra Brodsky writes, “Nonconsensual condom removal during sexual intercourse exposes victims to physical risks of pregnancy and disease and, interviews make clear, is experienced by many as a grave violation of dignity and autonomy. Such condom removal, popularly known as ‘stealthing,’ can be understood to transform consensual sex into nonconsensual sex by one of two theories, one of which poses a risk of over-criminalization by demanding complete transparency about reproductive capacity and sexually transmitted infections.”

Legislator Vega did not respond to our email asking if her proposal is based on the above or other criteria in submitting her proposal.

 

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