Alyssa reveals to WHO that during a night of what was supposed to be fun with casual sexual partner Michael* (not his real name) she was blindsided by the insidious act.
Initially reluctant to wear a condom during a night together, Michael eventually agreed to wear one after Alyssa insisted she didn’t want to have sex with him without protection.
“I had no idea I had been ‘stealthed’ until a few weeks later when I started feeling randomly nauseous and realised my period was late,” she tells WHO.
Alyssa’s worst fears were confirmed when she took a pregnancy test - and then took two more just to be certain. Sure enough, she was expecting.
“I just remember looking at the two lines and being like, ‘Oh, f**k…’” she recalls, adding she ultimately chose to terminate the pregnancy.
“I sat on the floor of that bathroom for hours just sobbing and staring at those terrifying two lines. It’s one of my most awful and most vivid memories of my life.”
Alyssa says another painful moment followed when she called Michael to tell him she was pregnant. In the lengthy conversation that ensued, she tried to confirm whether he had actually worn the condom the whole time. He hadn’t.
“The silence at the other end of the phone was deafening,” she says of how he reacted to that specific question. “We both knew exactly what he had done.”
That phone call was the last time Alyssa spoke to Michael. Following the conversation he blocked her number as well as blocking her on all forms of social media, leaving her to deal with the aftermath, including the abortion, alone.
“This was about five years ago so I’d never even heard of ‘stealthing’ - and only realised what it was after reading an article a year or so afterwards. At the time all I knew was I just felt so physically sick and violated after I realised what had gone down,” Alyssa says.
“I was also just so angry that someone had been so selfish to care more about their temporary pleasure than of my bodily autonomy. It was like my choice to decide what happens with my own body meant nothing and then I alone had to deal with the consequences. It was incredibly traumatising and affected my whole life. I’ll never be able to forgive him for that.”
Despite her ordeal, Alyssa says she believes the passing of this new law that specifically criminalises stealthing is a long overdue step in the right direction.
“It draws a line in the sand. I was so relieved when I heard that it had gone through. I think it still possibly might be tricky to prosecute since it’s still a ‘he said, she said’ deal but I still wish I had known it was a crime when it happened to me," she says.
"I spent so much time torturing myself that it was my fault because I consented to the sex, even though I never consented to sex without a condom. Like I thought maybe I should have checked during sex the condom was still on or I should have not had so much to drink so I would have noticed or I should have walked out at the first sign of hesitation about the condom. This law gives me hope that things can change.”
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.