I want this blog to be an information source for Black women to learn and understand more about sexual and relationship violence. Over the next few posts, I will be giving a brief history of Black women and sexual violence in America.
There is the impression that sexual violence is a new trend. It seems like every social media and news outlet is constantly reporting on rape, especially on college campuses and military bases.
This is not new at all!
For years, women have been victims of sexual violence and fighting to end it.
This can seem impossible when the country’s decision makers are mostly clueless White men.
Black women make up 8% of the US population.
Every 2 minutes, a sexual assault occurs.
Every 6 minutes, a child is a victim of a sexual abuse.
22% of homicides are a result of domestic violence.
Over 60% of Black women will be a victim of sexual abuse before they are 18 years old.
For every Black woman who reports her assault, 15 Black women will not.
These are only a few of the staggering statistics about sexual violence.
Slavery: Black Women As Property
White people arrived to the Americas and were ready to take over this newly discovered land. The problem was that there were already people living in the Americas.
Shout out to the Natives!
However, for the White people, the Natives were considered savages; not fit enough to use or own the land appropriately.
In an attempt to take over the lands, the Whites needed to establish control and dominance over the Natives.
Among all other heinous tools, rape was also used.
In the tragic end, the natives were not going to make good slaves.
The White people needed a group that they could more easily control.
The Whites began to bring the enslaved Africans over to the Americas.
It was easier to control the Africans as they were in an unfamiliar land and spoke different languages.
Africans were also defined as savages and were seen only as property, not human.
The Whites’ wealth, prosperity, and businesses were dependent on the labor of the slaves.
In order to increase capital, the White owners needed to increase their labor. Therefore, White and Black men raped women slaves in order to get pregnant.
After childbirth, the children were more likely sold to another White slave owner where they would groomed to be an even bigger, better slave.
The African women took their own measures for birth control
This resistance included taking camphor tree bark or performing their own abortions.
This resistance continued even after slavery.
Looking Towards The Future
Black women clubs in the early 1800s began to formally organize and advocate for sexual violence (raise money and awareness).
The most difficult part was that Black women were not seen as human and not capable of being raped. It would not make for a great news story (much still has not changed today).
There was a lot of unknown and unrecognized work done by countless Black women fighting back against White slave owners, northern White men, and Black men.
Even after the abolishment of slavery, Black people were still seen (and federally defined) as being less-than human.
The fight continued.
In the next post, I will be discussing sexual violence during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras.
Want to learn more?
Join us TODAY, Wednesday, October 26th at 9pm, on Twitter for the #CiteASista Talk where we will be discussing more about Black women and sexual violence.