What changes would you like to see in Minnesota’s voting laws?

State senators are considering a proposal to allow Minnesotans to vote up to two weeks before Election Day. Currently, voters need excused absences to vote early. Today’s Question: What changes would you like to see in Minnesota’s voting laws?

  • Kerri asked this:

    Working on a show about the role of heavy drinking on sexual assaults on campus. Should women drink less to be safer?"

    Here’s what we heard so far on Twitter:

    Only if you do NOT say "Women: Heavy drinking is risky!" but instead try to fight binge drinking for ALL. EVERYONE can be safer.— Elisabeth Marker (@The_MagicMarker) November 4, 2013

    Here are 2 ideas: Men aren't animals who can't help raping, and no amount of alcohol "makes" them do it or makes women responsible— Jess Banks (@ProfBanks) November 4, 2013

    Rape is caused by rapists, not alcohol.— SPBuckMulligan (@SPBuckMulligan) November 4, 2013

  • Stephen Smith

    I have done expert witness work for prosecution of men who rape intoxicated women. It is nearly impossible to convince a jury that the woman is not responsible if she was drunk. We only succeed if we have a video of the woman as she is unconscious.

  • Sue Nichols

    Of course they should drink less to be safer; safer from sexual assault and other problems that come with binge drinking. Also,we encourage females not to walk alone at night, don’t we? My daughter left for her first year of college with plenty of advice from me on how to be safe! My sons who left for college also had an advice session from me!

  • More from Twitter:

    Seriously?! I've heard time and again and again short skirts &too much cleavage is risky behavior for women/girls, too.— Christine Vyrnon (@teandoranges) November 4, 2013

  • birdie13

    I don’t think it is surprising that binge drinking puts a woman/girl at risk for being raped. With that said, rape is rape. The man raping the woman knows full well what is going on and like the article points out, some actively use this to their advantage. I remember well the conversation I had with my mom as I grew older and of the age where this could be an issue. I know people this has happened to and rumors of others. I will talk to my daughter about these risks. The bottom line is, you can’t prevent bad people from doing bad things, but you can try to not be in situations where it’s easier for them to do these horrible things.

  • JB


    What if a rape defendant was interrogated and ridiculed for for having sex with an intoxicated person who could not possibly consent and this behavior was recognized as deviant? The defendant frequently gets painted as a victim unable to resist the “siren call” of the unconscious or semi-conscious true victim. When there is a clear double standard especially with gender differences it is never suggested that a remedy would be to treat men the same as women, because that would be degrading to men.

  • clogie

    You know, I think it’s interesting that we don’t treat hazing this way. When a male fraternity forces a pledge to binge drink and then abuses him to the point of serious damage or death, no one says “He never said no,” or “What did he expect?” or “He really should have known better than to get drunk around his buddies”.

    A drunk young man is not held responsible for the abuse suffered at the hands of his peers—even if it could be argued that he agreed to the abuse. So why do we draw the distinction when it comes to women? Why must young women assume the risk of serious bodily damage for simply drinking too much in the presence of their male peers?

    If Emily Yoffee’s was sending a son off to college, I doubt she’d admonish him to mind his behavior or to be wary of sending “the wrong message” with his drinking. And if he found himself raped and dumped naked on campus somewhere, I don’t think we would all be wondering how exactly he was asking for it—no matter how drunk he was.

  • moni

    Emily Nagoski, PhD, a college health educator in Massachusetts, blogged about what research says actually works to prevent sexual assaults: http://www.thedirtynormal.com/2013/10/25/whats-actually-wrong-with-telling-women-not-to-drink/

  • Nancy Donoval

    Another marvelous rewrite of Emily Yoffe’s article into the discussion that we really need to be having: http://katarinag.com/2013/10/16/i-rewrote-emily-yoffes-slate-article-about-rape/#more-446

  • Eve

    Apparently you all have not experienced being a young woman on a college campus. Honestly, I have been a drunk college student and have one experience that I couldn’t tell you if I was raped or not because my male friend was in bed with me when I woke up. It’s not like he said he assaulted me. I will tell my son and daughter about my experiences with drinking in college because they both need to know in order to protect themselves.

  • Josie

    This is a difficult argument to take in, as I was victim of sexual assault while in college. The college I attended in the Twin Cities swept the assault under the rug and my perpetrator was not charged with anything on campus. I however, had to agree to charges of drinking alcohol on campus (even though I had not been and he had) in order to pursue charges of this man. This article has good points, but seems to perpetuate the idea that men can get away with drinking and women have to change their lives. Why not an article about how men can step up and take responsibility just as much as women about their drinking habits to change risky behaviors? Why not an article based solely on the demographics and drinking habits of perpetrators for prevention?

  • Nancy Donoval

    On Saturday Nov. 16th at Concordia University, we are hosting a community conversation on how to create campuses where healthy sexuality and a culture of consent are the norm as a way to prevent sexual violence. There are other sexual violence prevention events also taking place at The Forgiveness 360 Symposium including one survivor’s story which alcohol was factor.



  • Linda

    It is just as important to explicitly tell our sons what they can and cannot do. Sexual assault, abuse, harassment and exploitation are overwhelmingly perpetrated by men – they are somebody’s sons. I can’t imagine my son ever behaving in that way, but perhaps those other mothers thought that too.

  • MW

    As a college junior, one attitude that I’ve encountered frequently is that sexual assault and rape are “normal” parts of college. Many people, men especially, don’t seem to understand what exactly constitutes sexual assault. The fact that some guy that I don’t know feels like he has the right to try and grope me at a party just because he’s drunk is infuriating to me, and indicates that this is a cultural problem. It’s important to education both men and women about what sexual assault is, and that any form of assault is absolutely intolerable. I recognize that binge drinking can make women more vulnerable, but the fact that this is still an issue in our society should be what we are focusing on. Yes, teach women how to protect themselves, but more than that, teach men how to respect women. On another note: rape and sexual assault are not just issues for women – there are plenty of instances of men also being assaulted. Shouldn’t we be warning college-age men about the dangers of binge drinking as well? In the end, whether or not someone is drunk shouldn’t be a factor in this conversation – what matters is respect.

  • Meisha

    This is why more women need to exercise their right to own a handgun! Women have been raped forever and you need to protect yourself!

    • clogie

      drunk and armed….. what could possibly go wrong?

  • DD

    If you pick up a travel guide, they’ll give you the same advice. Pickpockets and rapists target intoxicated individuals. I understand the history behind the reactions, with women getting blamed for their rapes, which is terrible. It’s also terrible to object to educating people on what the real world risks of certain behavior are.

  • AMC

    I graduated from the U of M in 2008 and honestly drank a lot while in school – but I didn’t really worry about getting raped… but after graduating and growing up a little, I think I was lucky nothing bad ever! Having said that… women shouldn’t have to stop having fun to protect themselves — I agree that addressing the problem and educating young men is a critical piece to solving this problem!

  • Donna

    I think few people would argue with the wisdom of following sensible risk reduction strategies BUT humans will always take risks – that is a part of learning your boundaries, learning about your capabilities, etc. The problem is we have a society in which there are people who will look for and take advantage of someone who is at risk. I liked the caller’s idea of women having a buddy but think rather that men who go out should also have a buddy – to call them on behavior that is exploitive, harmful or dangerous to another. Wouldn’t it be a different world if the punishment for risk taking (whether it be drinking, accessing the larger world as a woman, etc.) were not rape?

  • Carreen Press Heegaard

    Why are we hearing more call in from men than women? In an ideal world with full developmental maturity all young adults would avoid excessive drinking for all of it’s inherent risks, however, the hard part about any advice like this is that the desired audience may not be responsive to this wisdom. It should not be considered a curtailment of one’s freedoms to be proactive and exercise caution around the use of all drugs but rather an educated choice given the realities women and men face with the cultural pressures around sex. My daughter was just elected as her floor representative for her large dorm as a freshman, she is popular and does love to join in the fun, I know her voice in this conversation will have some impact. I hope she will also model the ability to adjust one’s behaviour due to new learning and openness to change from within rather than some dogmatic external “paternalistic” warning that raises defensiveness among highly independent and bold women. I will implore her to use her leadership to raise awareness among her peers to try to shift the “micro-culture” which she may be able to influence and perhaps the ripple effects of this conversation will help us all mull over our choices and opportunities for shifting entrenched cultural norms- not easy to be sure. Thank you for covering this topic on the Daily Circuit!

    A shout out to the OWL (Our Whole Lives) program offered through Unitarian Church youth curriculums to bring 1year of deep sex education with both genders working together weekly to learn from hearing from one’s peers of the opposite gender and mentors/educators in a safe and respectful environment.

  • gertdoc

    Life isn’t fair. Bearing all the consequences of an unintended pregnancy isn’t fair. Being paid less for the same work isn’t fair. The list could go on as to the challenges women face; this is the reality. So all we can do is modify the factors we can control. Women are more vulnerable to sexual predators when impaired so limit impairment, protect your friends and work to change a culture that sees binge drinking as fun and sexual assault as sport.

    • bloomingdedalus

      Why don’t women just learn to take responsibility for their choices when they drink like adults do? How many women are in jail for having sex with a drunk man? Zero – because men take responsibility for their choices when they drink and they are expected to. There’s no reason the feminist movement should be insisting to everyone that women are dumb children who are incapable of making choices when they drink – nobody else gets a free pass for choices they make when they drink except women who choose to have sex.

      It’s a seriously pathetic, insulting, and juvenile ploy to equate “I had a drunk one-night stand” with “I was attacked and forced into sex.”

  • Taylor

    As someone who spent the past two years working as a residence hall director for 500 first-year students, this is something I have some very real experience with. When alcohol is involved (as it was in every case that I worked with) it can be very difficult to find out what actually happened. There were three cases where the female did not remember what happened but did not feel good about it when she woke up/sobered up and felt that a rape had occurred. In these cases, testimonies by the victim, accused, and witnesses have been very different. As is noted in the article, often both the male and female involved are heavily under the influence. There are certainly times when the male may use this to his advantage, but there are also times when the decision making of both male and female are greatly affected which results in a lot of confusion. I also know plenty of women who went out, partied, drank, and had a great time in college without problems. I think a really big part of being safe while drinking/partying, whether male or female, is thinking about who you are drinking with and what type of parties you go to.