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Rape in American Slavery System

In: Historical Events

Submitted By sparrowhawk16
Words 3238
Pages 13
Rape During The Antebellum Period
The first African slaves arrived in Virginia, North America in 1619. As the plantations of the antebellum south flourished, the African slave trade gained momentum. Between the 16 and 19th centuries, America had an estimated 12 million African slaves (Slavery in the United States, Junius P. Rodriguez ). Enslavement of the African Americans formally commenced in the 1630s and 1640s. By 1740, colonial America had a fully developed slavery system in place, granting slave owners an absolute and tyrannical life-and-death authority over their slaves or 'chattels' and their children (Slavery in the United States, Junius P. Rodriguez ). Stripped of any identity or rights, enslaved black men and women were considered legal non-persons, except in the event of a crime committed. Documents and research on the slave era in the antebellum south are awash with horror stories of the brutal and inhuman treatment of slaves, particularly women (Slavery in the United States, Junius P. Rodriguez). Considered 'properties' by their masters, enslaved black women endured physical and emotional abuse, torture, and sometimes even death.
By the 1800s, slavery had percolated down mainly to the antebellum south. While a majority of enslaved men and women were designated as 'field servants' performing duties outside the house, a smaller percentage, particularly women were employed as domestics or 'house servants', mammies and surrogate mothers.
In the absence of any security, and with laws granting owners full power over their slaves, these women in bondage were frequently harassed, sexually abused and used as long term concubines by their masters. Enslaved men were powerless to challenge or intervene on the woman’s behalf because the consequences of such actions could lead to death or being sold to another plantation (Africans in America, Charles Johnson).…...

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