In early September, posters appeared around campus warning of “stealthing” — an informal term for when a person removes their condom during sex without their partner’s knowledge or consent. The Collegian could not identify the creators of these posters, but Katie Samples ’18, co-president of the Beer and Sex advisors, said the Beer and Sex advisors decided to include it in their manual this year. She said the practice is an issue on campus that is often discussed and that violates Title IX, a U.S. policy that protects students from experiencing discrimination based on gender or gender expression.
“It’s much more about consent in every stage of a sexual interaction,” Samples said. “Consenting to have unprotected sex is very different from consenting to have protected sex, especially with how prevalent sexually transmitted infections are.”
The stealthing posters come at a time when only 67 percent of students report that they have confidence in campus officials supporting and protecting Title IX complainants. This is lower than other peer institutions, according to the results of a voluntary survey released by the College on Sept. 12. Samantha Hughes, Kenyon’s Civil Rights/Title IX coordinator, said that she couldn’t comment on whether or not investigations of “stealthing” have happened in the past. But she said the College added “stealthing” into the Title IX handbook this year. She said the practice would lead to an investigation if it were reported, even though the term was not in last year’s handbook.
Hughes said the change in language in the Title IX handbook is often driven by concrete cases as well as keeping the violation code updated. She said the College is always looking to provide more examples of prohibited behavior. But, Hughes said, even though the removal of a condom during sex without the partner’s consent is not listed in the 2016-2017 handbook, it is still a clear example of a violation.
Jacqueleen Eng ’19, who said she has friends who have experienced stealthing, said that it is a common issue at Kenyon.
“I would say it happens more often than I initially thought it did, because I’ve heard a lot of stories from people who have had it happen to them,” Eng said.
Eng said that people who experience stealthing often are not aware at first that it violates Title IX. “It definitely is [a violation of Title IX], but I don’t think a lot of girls see it as an assault or type of violation,” she said.
Eng went on to say that she feels safe at Kenyon, but personally, she would like to see the College give harsher punishments to Title IX violators.
“There have been a lot of people with Title IX violations or who have been accused of Title IX violation that I’ve still seen around campus, so I’ve been seeing a lot of that more,” Eng said. “But I think the extent to which people are punished, in my opinion, is not where it needs to be.”