Minnesota Legislature passes new sexual assault legal guidelines as a part of public security invoice
“Because we’re here to do members? We are here to protect victims from violence. We are here to help the criminals find another way and another way. And to find hope and healing and stop the criminal behavior. This is public safety, “said Marion O’Neill, a Republican member of the Minnesota House.
The Minnesota House and Senate passed a massive public safety bill that spanned everything from police reform to disability rights to sexual assault laws. The new sexual assault laws received strong support from both parties.
Here are three major changes:
First, the legislature extends the term “mentally disabled” to include voluntary intoxication. This protects people who are drunk or high when attacked – they say they are not in the right frame of mind to consent to sex. The statute of limitations for sexual offenses will also be abolished with the new law. Experts say this will give victims more time to process what happened to them and give them the space to decide whether to prosecute on their own terms.
“It allows you to not be on someone else’s schedule that someone else has set for you,” said Heather Geerts, director of clinical services at Zumbro Valley Health.
Finally, the new law makes blackmailing or threatening someone for sex a crime. Stricter, more specific laws like this one could help sexual assault victims feel comfortable enough to come forward.
“This way you can know that you don’t have to blame yourself,” said Geerts.
Geerts, who counsels victims of sexual assault, hopes the new laws will help take some of the stress and trauma away from her clients.
“I hope the changes will come and I hope that we can better protect the victims of attacks,” said Geerts.
These specific sexual assault laws come into effect on September 15th.