Stealthing during sex to be made illegal in S’pore

In such an instance, consent will be considered as compromised.

Matthias Ang | February 12, 01:51 pm


Stealthing during sex is set to be made illegal in Singapore.

For those of you not in the know, stealthing refers to the act of covertly removing one’s condom when the other party had consented only to protected sex.

In a joint press release by the Ministries of Law and Home Affairs, the government elaborated that in such an instance:

while consent is not legally negated (as the deception does not relate to the nature of the act, the purpose of the act, or the identity of the person doing the act), the consent obtained is compromised, and there is risk of physical harm to the victim.”

The criminalisation of the act comes as part of the Criminal Law Reform Bill, which introduces amendments to the Penal Code so that it remains relevant and up to date.

The Bill is based on reviews conducted by the Penal Code Review Committee (PCRC), which gave recommendations aimed at enhancing protection for vulnerable victims and tackling emerging crime trends, among others.

Creating a new offence of obtaining consent by deception or false representation

The government added that the Bill would create the new offence of obtaining consent by deception or false representation regarding:

“(a) the use or manner of use of a sexually protective device, or

(b) whether one is suffering from a sexually transmitted disease.”

Acts such as stealthing would therefore fall under the first category.

Additionally, the Bill would also create another section on the types of factual misconception, in order to clarify the contexts in which consent to a sexual act might be vitiated.

Under this new section, the types of factual misconception would pertain to the:

“(a) sexual nature of the act,

(b) sexual purpose of the act, and

(c) identity of the person doing the act.”

Current definition of consent to stay

The definition of consent has been recommended by the PCRC to remain the same, however, instead of adopting a positive definition of consent.

Here’s how consent is currently defined in Section 90 of the Penal Code:

“A consent is not such a consent as is intended by any section of this Code —

(a) if the consent is given by a person —

(i) under fear of injury or wrongful restraint to the person or to some other person; or
(ii) under a misconception of fact (bolded words ours),

and the person doing the act knows, or has reason to believe, that the consent was given in consequence of such fear or misconception;

(b) if the consent is given by a person who, from unsoundness of mind, mental incapacity, intoxication, or the influence of any drug or other substance, is unable to understand the nature and consequence of that to which he gives his consent; or

(c) unless the contrary appears from the context, if the consent is given by a person who is under 12 years of age.”

The PCRC elaborated that the reason behind keeping this was because the current definition had functioned well enough.

The PCRC also pointed out that prosecutorial discretion thus far has been reliable in avoiding the pursuit of more trivial forms of deceptions/misconceptions under serious offences such as rape.

The government has since stated that it agreed with the recommendation of the PCRC to keep the definition of consent the same.

The government further added that this was because a proposed positive definition of consent would be too vague and broadly phrased to be useful to the courts.

Top image from UW-Oshkosh UMatter Facebook

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