Minnesota rules that man can’t be charged with sexual assault if woman chose to drink


Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

The scales are now unbalanced when it comes to sexual assault cases in Minnesota.

Molly Boetsch, The Delphi Editor

The issue of victim blaming when it comes to sexual assault has been around for years, but with Minnesota’s new law, it gets worse.

On March 26, 2021, the Minnesota court reopened the case of a 20-year-old girl who had gone out drinking with her friend and was raped that same night.

Now, four years after the assault, the court ruled that Francios Momolu Khalil “cannot be found guilty of rape because the woman got drunk voluntarily beforehand.”

This decision was made in an effort by the Minnesota legislation to extend the definition of what it means to be mentally incapacitated. Now, the definition of being mentally incapacitated, and therefore being incapable of consenting to sex, is that the victim has to be intoxicated specifically on substances given to them without their agreement.  There are those who wish to also include voluntary intoxication to the definition to prevent courtroom outcomes like this one.

Approximately one-half of all sexual assault victims report that they were drinking alcohol at the time of the assault, with estimates ranging from 30 to 79%, and that percentage is even higher, around 50%, for women in college.

The victim shouldn’t be blamed for wanting to go out and have a good time with some friends. They may have chosen to drink, but no one chooses to be sexually assaulted.

According to an Augusta University study, around 25% of college men have committed sexual assault, and 8% have committed rape or attempted rape, and yet the court of Minnesota blames the victim.

Approximately 90% of sexual assaults reported by college women are perpetrated by someone the victim knows, with half occurring on a date, and “One in five women will be raped at sometime in their lives,” according to The National Sexual Violence Resource Center. This study also cites that 63% of sexual assaults are not ever reported to police.

It’s wrong and illogical to blame the victim of a sexual assault just because she was drinking voluntarily. If you do not give verbal consent, then it is an assault. Part of the definition of sexual assault, as given by Merriam Webster, is “sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent.”

This law increases the fear many women already have. Now they won’t even be guaranteed any sense of justice for crimes committed against them.

Victim blaming has been around in our society for a long time, and laws like these are just adding fuel to the fire.