Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

Just look at that creepy motherfucker.

Fuck you, Minnesota.

My newsfeed is full of a recent story about a Minnesota Supreme Court case where a convicted rapist was granted a new trial. The defendant had sex with a woman who was both intoxicated and unconscious — those facts are not in dispute. However, his conviction was still overturned because the woman had voluntarily gotten intoxicated and, according to the court, that meant that her intoxication couldn’t be used to show that she didn’t consent.

Let me break that down a bit. A rape conviction normally requires lack of consent by the victim…


Photo by Thiébaud Faix on Unsplash

As the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot continues, the man who allegedly incited the whole thing seems to have been largely forgotten. After a second impeachment (but no conviction), Trump has retreated to his Florida home via helicopter and there is no sign that he will ever face any serious consequences for his role in the attempted insurrection. I mean, if you don’t count being banned on Twitter, which I actually do count.

At least Twitter thinks that Trump incited the Capitol riot because Twitter banned Trump — permanently — on January 8, 2021 “due to the risk…


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The word “insurrection” has been in the news a lot recently. It was bandied about during Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial and in reporting on the January attempted takeover of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Trump was acquitted of the charges of inciting the mob, which means that he isn’t disqualified from running for office again and he has indicated that he might run for President in 2024. …


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The last four years have had a lot of legal experts looking up once-obscure terminology. Emoluments, insurrection, sedition. These are not words I learned in law school. But, here we are. As 2020 drew to a close (I refuse to tarnish my brand-new 2021 with this garbage), it left us a spectacular and horrific parting gift: an armed takeover of the Capitol to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as President.

The main word being thrown around, besides treason (more on that later), is sedition. As a First Amendment scholar, I know that word as an affront to freedom of…


What happens when a government takes Covid-19 seriously?

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I’m an American who’s been living in Ireland since October 2020. My husband, who is Irish, moved with our son in September because we had already decided we didn’t want to send our son to in-person school but we also quickly realized that “virtual first grade” was not a thing we wanted any part of. His teachers are great, and we know that the school is doing their best, but it was a strain on my husband, who was basically home-schooling. …


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Let me start by saying that I am a doctor. A real one. In that, I have a doctorate degree and am therefore qualified to teach at the university level.

My doctorate is a PhD in law, which I earned at Queen Mary, University of London after writing a 100,000 word dissertation, including interviews with scholars, legal activists, and members of the House of Lords. It took me a little over three years and I had to verbally defend my work to two experts on the subject, who had the ultimate and non-appealable authority to decide whether my years of…


I have never been raped. I know women who have. But it has never happened to me and I consider myself lucky because it is only luck that has kept me safe so far. Yes, I am lucky that I haven’t been raped. I truly feel this. I cannot describe the own horrors in my life without saying, in nearly the same breath, that it could have been worse. That it has been worse for so many women, men, and gender non-conforming people.

I have never been raped. I have been coerced into sexual activity, worn down with pleading, insults…


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Due to my scholarly agenda, I have to read about rape a lot, which totally sucks, sometimes for unexpected reasons. For example, one of the first pages that pops up in my Google search for “rape prevention” is a webpage from the City of Sacramento Police Department. The text starts off great:

“Rape is a crime which affects all members of society — its victims and those close to them. The more informed citizens are about the crime of rape, the better prepared they will be to prevent it.”

Yes, very true, we should know more about what rape actually…


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*This story is a first-person account from a law student.

I never imagined myself as a victim of domestic violence. Being a “victim” has been a hard label to accept. Because in the words of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “My parents didn’t raise me to accept abuse from men.” Yet here I am, a single mother, co-parenting with an abuser, and living in fear.

My journey through the family court system began when my relationship came to a violent end. I was adrift in a sea of fear, isolation, and confusion. I didn’t know what to do to protect my daughter. I…


Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

I’ve been working hard today on an article draft and now, at 3:30pm, it’s time to take a break and go cry somewhere.

It’s not that I’m tired — I am, but that’s not it — it’s that what I’m working on is so fucking depressing. I am working on a law review article that compares #metoo movements in the United States and three European countries to see how their laws and cultures interacted with a global movement. Part of that research is going over sexual assault and harassment statistics and talking about how underreported those crimes are and why…

JoAnne Sweeny

Professor of law at the University of Louisville, specializing in freedom of expression, technology, and feminist jurisprudence.

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