On Wednesday March 24, 2021 the Minnesota Supreme Court made a decision that not only dismissed a rapist from charges but will also allow others to walk free as well. This decision was made due to an on-going case from May 2017. In this case Francois Momulu Khalil raped a woman he met at a bar, upon meeting her she was attempting to enter the bar but was denied due to her intoxicated state. He then took her to his home and assaulted her. The court has decided, four years later, that this rapist did not in fact rape this woman, solely because she willingly was intoxicated when it happened. According to the ruling if a victim has gotten intoxicated willingly, they cannot be deemed mentally incapacitated.
This ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court states, unless someone is forced to consume alcohol or drugs, they cannot be considered mentally incapacitated if they are later sexually assaulted. Taking this from a felony charge to a gross misdemeanor. This ruling is detrimental to everyone who may become a victim of sexual assault and takes victim blaming to the extreme. A person consenting to going out and drinking is in no way correlated to consenting to sex, nor should it invalidate assault.
Survivors are frequently asked victim blaming questions when reporting assaults to begin with, many such as “what were you wearing,” “why did you leave with them,” “how much did you drink,” and the list sadly goes on. However, to have a supreme court rule that the only time someone can be assaulted is if they were forced to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that is unacceptable.
This ruling is only giving rapists more leeway, allowing them the safety to know that if they assault someone, they will not face consequences. Whether someone is unconscious or stone cold sober, they have control over their body, and they are always in control of who touches and does not touch it.
This ruling does not take into account the victims, the trauma they have gone through, and what they will have to continue to go through and live with for the rest of their lives. It is only considering the rapist in this situation and making sure to allow them the least amount of time in jail, if they face time at all. The court made this decision due to a law in Minnesota that states “mentally incapacitated’ means 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 judgement to give a reasoned consent to sexual contact or sexual penetration.” This law needs to be updated quickly and the Supreme Court should be working towards fixing the wording for their law instead of continuing to use it.
This is completely unacceptable. Victims face constant victim blaming from their clothing, their actions, how much they had to drink, and now are told if they drink willingly, they are to blame for their own rape. Which is absolutely wrong and disgusting, the only person that is to blame is the rapist. No matter how much someone has had to drink they should be able to go home safely and not be violated. Minnesota needs to change their laws quickly to prevent more survivors from having to go through this trauma after they have already gone through a trauma. Rape is never the victim’s fault and everyone should feel safe to report their assault without being blamed on every level of the law.