Last week, The Minnesota Supreme Court threw out a rape conviction due to the fact that the woman was voluntarily intoxicated.
Minnesota law considers “criminal sexual assault in the third degree” to be sexual penetration by someone who knows the victim is mentally incapacitated, according to CNN. However, the definition of “mentally incapacitated” is defined by the state statute as meaning “that a person under the influence of alcohol, a narcotic, anesthetic, or any other substance, administered to that person without the person’s agreement, lacks the judgment to give a reasoned consent to sexual contact or sexual penetration.”
Since the victim was voluntarily drunk, she is not included under the legal definition of being “mentally incapacitated” and the case was overturned. The implications of this ruling are substantial. This means a Minnesota man cannot be charged with rape if the victim willingly consumed alcohol, potentially making it more dangerous for Minnesota women since rapists know they can get away with it. This ruling also shifts blame onto the victim and eliminates any consequences for the rapist.
Lindsay Brice, Law and Policy Director for the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told CNN that this outcome was “not surprising at all” and “reflects the need for change at the legislature”.
Here at NYMM, we are disheartened and devastated by the decision made by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Without discrediting the significant social progress made with the #MeToo movement, this news feels like a huge reality check in how much work really needs to be done in terms of reforming the systems that prevent rapists from being held accountable.
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