Unprotected Sex, Queensland Style
How to regulate the amoral generation which inhabits a hook-up culture? Well, as the media reports, Queensland – yes, Yvette Death, again! – is about to take on the dastardly act of “stealthing”. Yes, there is a verb, to stealth.
It has nothing to do with bombers. But it does have something to do with weaponising. It is about turning unprotected sex (sex without a condom, let alone love or romance) into “rape”. It is not without irony that Julian Assange, who knows a little about this very charge – in his case, in Sweden in 2010 – was born in the Sunshine State.
Coincidentally, at the very time that Queensland is ramping up the me-tooist-driven war on unregulated congress, that ogre of the feminist industrial complex, Bruce Lehrmann, is back on the front pages, being accused yet again of rape. Yes, rape. Assangian rape. Queensland rape. Sex without the magic plastic. At least I think that is what he has, this time, been accused of. As per media reports, this is the story of an alcohol- and cocaine-addled, strip-club attending accuser who discovered, weeks after the alleged subsequent sexual event and without apparently even knowing the name or identity of her stealth bombing bed-partner. Until she saw his picture on the internet during a discussion of the Brittany Higgins case.
Who then duly trotted off to the police. Clearly someone, it would appear from the reported lead-up events, for whom affirmative consent (and self-control) isn’t a huge deal. (All this supposedly happened in Toowoomba, of all places).
Bruce Lehrmann has denied the allegations, now charges. His identity had been suppressed until recently passed Queensland legislation helpfully allowed police and media to name and, all over again, shame him.
So, what is stealthing about, and why is it in the news? Here is The Guardian:
Removing a condom during sex without consent will be considered rape and attract a maximum penalty of life in prison under sweeping laws introduced to Queensland parliament on Wednesday [11 October].
The new laws, aimed at criminalising the tampering with or removal of a condom without consent – commonly referred to as stealthing – will be introduced into parliament as part of an affirmative consent model.
Yes, life! A longer sentence than for murder. For child molesting. Stop laughing, this is serious. Apparently.
The consent model will be familiar to those of us living south of the Tweed. Under the former Perrottet-led Liberal regime in New South Wales, the then Attorney General, Mark Speakman (now Leader of the Opposition) brought in new laws stipulating that you now have to ask a partner (your wife?) for permission to play hide the sausage.
The protected sausage. For stealthing is verboten in a number of jurisdictions:
Stealthing is illegal in Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.
There you go. And what a fun place Queensland already is, sex consent law-wise. Consider the following:
In February 2021, the Legal Affairs and Safety Committee of the Queensland State Parliament tabled its report into the Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020. The Bill clarifies the definition of consent in several ways, including:
· a complainant or victim who fails to say “no” by words or action cannot be taken to have given consent. In other words, absence of objection does not mean consent.
· consent may be withdrawn at any time prior to or during sexual activity.
· in considering whether it was reasonable for an accused person to have a mistaken belief about consent, a jury may consider anything that he or she did to ascertain whether the other person was consenting.
· an accused person’s voluntary intoxication is not relevant to whether he or she reasonably believed the person was consenting.
It gets worse:
First, a person must mentally wish to engage in a particular act. Put another way, the decision to say “yes” must manifest in the mind of the person consenting.
Second, the person must “give” consent. They need to represent or communicate their consent in some way, either through words or actions. As noted above, failure to say “no” does not amount to consent.
To be consent, the person must be consenting to the particular act that is performed. For instance, agreement to kiss a person does not amount to consent to then have sexual intercourse.
Giving verbal consent isn’t enough. You have to truly believe you want to.
Perhaps every sex act should now be preceded by a full and frank rule-making discussion involving participants, with notes duly taken and decisions recorded (preferably recorded on some device). Obtain witnesses, perhaps. Film the thing, with full audio to ensure potential future juries get to see and hear everything that is agreed to. No mumbling, please. Speak clearly into the microphone. Requesting permission for each activity might get a tad boring, a tad ardour-sapping. And does each participant – assuming two, but why confine it to two? – have to have precisely equal desire at each step along the way? Orgies could get awfully complicated. Awfully rule-driven. What with multiple consents required. Perhaps town planners might be consulted to help with drawing up a regimen for multi-consents. They are used to screwing people around.
Is all this second-wave bedroom regulation about sexual health or population control? Or about spoiling the moment? Or about further empowering women in the bedroom? Perhaps it is about all of the above. Whatever else it is, it takes he said-she said challenge for the courts to a whole other level.
The (real and stated) motivations for anti-stealthing laws are of interest here. The Monash Law Students Society is all over it:
In June 2019, The Age published an article by Melissa Cunningham entitled ‘One in Three Women Victim to ‘Stealth’ Condom Removal.’ Sharing the results from a 2017 study conducted by Monash University at a Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Cunningham reported that one in three women and one in five men had reported being previously ‘stealthed’ by another person. Less than one per cent of respondents reported the incident to police.
Ah, there it is. The V word. A new class of ‘victim”. It is all about victimhood. And feminist power. The same article refers to “stealth survivors”.
Victims of stealthing are more likely to experience anxiety, depression and PTSD, and be at increased risk of unintended pregnancy and transmission of STIs. In particular, in interviewing stealthing survivors, Brodsky noted that many felt a betrayal of trust and violations of dignity and autonomy. Many of these experiences could be compounded by the fact that victims may not actually be aware that their experience is akin to sexual assault or rape.
All because you take off the plastic during consensual sex. Who knew? And here were the rest of us worried about things like the increasing likelihood of World War Three, the collapsing economy, invented racial divisions, the energy crisis and creeping totalitarianism. In Queensland, it is ... condoms!
Unsurprisingly, the redoubtable Bettina Arndt of Men Too has been thinking about these issues for some years, especially the risk of weaponisation:
Australian universities are becoming unsafe for young men due to the risk of false accusations of sexual assault, sex therapist Bettina Arndt told a right-wing conference in Brisbane on Friday. [Yes, it is the Sydney Morning Herald…]
The report also noted:
Ms Arndt has attracted student protests during her appearances at universities during her "Fake Rape Crisis" tour, which was in response to the Human Rights Commission's report on sexual assaults on campus.
The headline read:
'Most of us are having illegal sex': Bettina Arndt slams consent laws at Brisbane conference.
This feels like the regulation of good actors (like husbands and wives) to hyper-regulate the sex lives of singletons who hang out in strip clubs, snort coke and then get the cab home for a little further recreation. Call me old fashioned. I know the me-too class disagrees, but are people sensing there is a rape crisis among the hook-up brigade and in broader society? We know about under-reported vaccine injuries. Maybe it is the same with unprotected hook-up sex. Who would know? Does it require State bedroom creep? (Creep in every sense of the term).
And Bettina said that in 2018. The Bedroom State has moved on considerably since then, as we have seen. One area of “advance” has been in compulsory school programs on consent. Bettina Arndt has further written (in 2022):
Last month it was announced all Australian high school students are to be taught about sexual consent and coercion. Mandatory education programs are being rolled out across the country teaching boys not to rape.
It’s mainly due to Sydney schoolgirl Chanel Contos … who burst into the limelight last year when she announced that a school sex education course had led her to discover she’d been raped two years earlier. As a 13-year-old she’d been “forced” to go down on a boy at a party but it took a Year-10 school sex education course for her to realize what had happened to her. She started a website encouraging other girls to tell stories of similar sexual assaults and nearly 2000 obliged. Ever since she’s been out there calling out male misbehaviour and lobbying for school sexual consent courses.
This is just the latest front in the mighty feminist battle to rein in male sexuality and punish more rapists.
Indeed. It isn’t hard to see where all this is going, or why it is going there. And when in doubt, take responsibility from parents and give it to the State. When married, monogamist men are turned into criminals, it isn’t much use any more revisiting more traditional values and preaching pre-marital virtue. That boat has well and truly sailed. No, this isn’t just about solving a problem. Those protesters from greenleft.org.au bearing “end rape now” posters are going after much more than “rape” as it has always been understood. Men per se are in their sights.
And, as is so often the case, the preferred vehicle for radical social change is the law. Did someone say “shift the burden of proof”?
As an aside, during the NSW legislative debate on hyper-consent, we had the following immortal words from The Hon Emma Hurst MLC:
On behalf of the Animal Justice Party, I speak in support of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Consent Reforms) Bill 2021.
What, affirmative consent for randy stallions? For the local tom cat population? For the straying, non-desexed bull mastiff? Having just watched again the film of the old Agatha Christie novel, Dumb Witness, one can only wonder how a male animal is meant to communicate verbally its intent to a prospective partner. How would Michael Palin’s character in A Fish Called Wanda? Write it down on a piece of paper, I guess.
Mercifully, Mark Latham has been on the case in relation to New South Wales’ woke laws:
One Nation [not now] MP Mark Latham says affirmative consent laws passed in NSW last year will be weaponised in family court and child custody disputes after relationships break down.
Source The Australian, paywalled.
Of course. They are certainly being weaponised in Queensland. As we speak. The laws there allow low-rent sub-editors across the country to accuse Bruce Lehrmann of “rape” when in any normal universe he would not be accused of any such thing (on the known facts of the accusation and the murky circumstances that relate to it). This was the News Corp headline:
Bruce Lehrmann met Toowoomba woman at strip club before rape, police allege.
Not even quotation marks around the word. The mere ability to call what happened here rape, publicly and without fear of push-back, signals a huge power shift. What does this do to the burden of proof?
Latham also noted:
Under new ‘positive sexual consent’ laws, NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman has confirmed it will be illegal for a couple in a long term relationship to have sex in the middle of the night (with no prior words or gestures). The historical context will not qualify as consent. (Emphasis added).
Half the State are now criminals! This is the new complainants/perpetrators State. A manufactured binary. Not only are men guilty of rape until they can prove consent, as Bettina Arndt has put it, but now the area of consent has been broadened massively, too. A double whammy.
In the meantime, Lehrmann must now be wondering, more than ever, what the hell he did in a previous life to deserve all this attention from the female population of Australia. In this age of weirdly constructed consent.
This time around, we can’t even say “only in Queensland”. Oh, and we should be grateful, I suppose, that the Queensland minister responsible for consent laws is no longer Cameron Dick …
27 October 2023