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Opinions of Saturday, 14 September 2019

Columnist: King David K. Dzirasah

Removing condom during sex should be criminalized in Ghana

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Non-consensual condom removal or stealthing is the practice of a man covertly removing or damaging a condom during sexual intercourse when his sex partner has only consented to condom-protected sex. This is an emerging trend in sexual relationships not only in Ghana but across the world. Most countries in the west have recognized that stealthing is a complete violation of the sexual right of individuals and have gone a step further by legislation against stealthing. To put it bluntly, stealthing is equivalent to rape or sexual assault.

It is recognizable that research and data on stealthing in Ghana is inadequate or quite frankly non-existent. Suffice to say that stealthing contributes greatly in the incidence of unintended pregnancies and STI cases. Ghana as a country is grappling with its population policy objective of controlling its population growth rate. Clearly stealthing holds the ability to undermine the dream of achieving a low population growth projectiles through unintended pregnancies.

The legal aspect of stealthing is a matter of great significance. It is very worrisome that the criminal code (Act 30) seems to either be oblivious or unimaginative as far as the criminal nature of stealthing is concerned. Ghana being a patriarchal society makes women vulnerable to the incidence of stealthing. The only protective instrument the state can and must offer in protecting women from the evil, callous consequences of stealthing is amending the criminal code to reflect the criminal and potential consequential punitive action ascribed to stealthing.

As parliament makes an effort to pass the affirmative bill into law which will give women greater voice in our governance system, it is as a matter of urgency that they begin to consider the potential harm of stealthing on our women. This is a wake-up call for our president, parliament and all relevant stakeholders to take a proactive step in dealing with the menace of stealthing in Ghana.